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November 3, 2014

Branstad, Cuomo Broadband Proposals Highlight Deployment's Growth as Gubernatorial Campaign Issue

IPI expert referenced: Bartlett Cleland | In The News | Media Hit
  Washington Internet Daily

Broadband deployment has gained traction this year as a campaign issue for gubernatorial candidates, government and industry observers told us in interviews, but it still isn't viewed as a marquee component for most campaigns. Broadband has been a campaign issue in multiple contests this election cycle, taking a special prominence in Iowa and New York. Incumbent governors in the two states -- Terry Branstad, R-Iowa, and Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y. -- have both issued plans to encourage broadband development as part of their re-election bids. Recent polls have shown both Branstad and Cuomo leading their opponents by double digits.

It's "remarkable" that broadband deployment has become a campaign-worthy issue for Branstad, Cuomo and others, said Madery Bridge Associates Managing Director Bartlett Cleland, Institute for Policy Innovation resident scholar-tax and innovation policy. "It's exciting because these technology issues are finally getting some of the attention that they deserve and resonating with politicians as being as important as they really are" by comparing them to other critical infrastructures. Campaigns' increased interest in broadband policy could be an instance of an issue that's the "next cool thing" that incumbents can latch onto, Cleland said. "They're going to throw a bunch of ideas out there and I'm not sure that they always get the kind of critical analysis in a campaign setting that they might in other settings."

If Branstad and Cuomo win re-election and begin converting their broadband proposals into policy, "I think it's going to be a little harder case to make than just being able to get on the stump and make promises, though I think that's always the case," Cleland said. "There's a lot of stuff that needs to be done out there" related to infrastructure, he said. "Broadband is important and necessary as we go forward. I just think it's a question of how best to deploy that."

This is an excerpt from the original article found at Washington Internet Daily. 


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