WASHINGTON – Today Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) pushed for a federal commitment to make high speed Internet access more widely available to Massachusetts residents and small businesses, as well as the rest of the country. After hearing testimony from Massachusetts small business CEO Douglas Levin, Kerry prodded the Bush administration to make universal broadband access a reality by changing regulations and encouraging competition between service providers.

“Today, Massachusetts is a national leader in technological innovation, yet less than half of the people in our state have high speed Internet access. As one of the nation’s technology leaders, Massachusetts must demand better service,” said Kerry, Chairman of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. “To compete and win in the new global economy, we need a national broadband strategy that encourages competition and expands access. By making high speed Internet more readily available, small businesses and residents in areas like western Massachusetts will be better equipped to compete and grow.”

The hearing featured testimony from Black Duck Software CEO Douglas Levin, based in Waltham, Massachusetts. Black Duck Software relies on high speed Internet to build advanced software applications based on software components developed collaboratively over the Internet.

“Poor Internet capabilities in many suburban and rural areas make it challenging for American companies like ours to support telecommuters,” said Mr. Levin. “Even in metropolitan areas, the quality of human conversations is quite low when made over an Internet connection. The health of the American economy depends in no small part on the health of our Internet infrastructure. The jobs of tomorrow depend on the technology decisions the government makes today.”

Senator Kerry also pushed for the Federal Communications Commission to collect more accurate information to measure the availability of broadband services for small businesses. Although the FCC has reported that America’s broadband deployment is being deployed on a reasonable and timely basis to all Americans, recent reports from leading technology think tanks have shown that America is falling behind other countries, and currently ranks 15th in the world in terms of high speed Internet access.

Senator Kerry is the primary author of S.234, the Wireless Innovation Act of 2007 (WINN Act). The legislation aims to facilitate the development of wireless broadband Internet access by allocating certain areas within the broadcast spectrum known as white spaces that are otherwise unassigned or unused. Senator John Kerry has also joined Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) in an effort to ensure that communities across the country have equal access to developing broadband internet technologies. The Community Broadband Act, S. 1853, will ensure that municipal governments have the right to provide high-speed Internet service to their citizens.

In June, Senator Kerry wrote to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin to share his concerns about the valuable 700 MHz spectrum. This spectrum, currently used for television broadcast signals, can transmit signals through trees, buildings and other structures. It is being auctioned off because television is going digital in 2009. Kerry asked the FCC to establish auction rules that maximize the likelihood of innovation and ease competitive entry.