REDMOND, Wash. -- High-speed internet access for computer users is too expensive and threatens to limit the adoption of some powerful new services that will be available over the next few years, Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates said Wednesday.
Gates urged government policy makers to sit down with the cable and telephone industries and figure out what it will take to provide broadband services for $30 per month rather than the current $50 people generally pay for access via cable lines or enhanced telephone wiring. Although most of the heavily populated areas in the country have high-speed access available, less than 15 percent of the country is using it.
But Gates expressed no optimism that the complex problem would be solved anytime soon, even as Congress reviews legislative proposals purporting to address the issue. The telephone industry, for instance, has been at war over various regulations that some companies claim make it too difficult to recoup the costs of deploying broadband without charging high rates.
Gates said the broadband problem is particularly frustrating because it is the one piece of the physical infrastructure of computing that is limiting a "miracle environment" of new applications.
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