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Ambassador: U.S. Wireless Policies Emulated by Developing Nations

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By William G. Korver, Reporter,

WASHINGTON, June 13- America's wireless policies continue to be emulated by developing nations, Ambassador David Gross, United States coordinator for international communications and information policy, said Friday at Broadband Policy Summit IV.

Therefore, the U.S. must “think domestically” but “act internationally” in wireless regulation – because many nations “monitor and dissect carefully” the telecommunications debates that now rage in Washington, Gross said in a keynote address here.

More than 100 independent regulatory agencies have been modeled on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. Gross also said that it was the U.S. model of private enterprise that is “now widely adopted throughout the world.”

Gross, who will be attending the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development “ministerial” next week in Seoul, noted the exponential growth of cellular devices. He said that India and China represent the height of cellular expansion.

In India, the cell phone industry gains over 10 million new subscribers each month. In China, seven to eight million are added monthly.

Wireless expansion has also occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan as well, he said.

Since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and the Taliban in 2001, cell phones have increased from minuscule amounts to more than 10 million in Iraq and some five million in Afghanistan, he said.

Because of such success stories as these, somewhere between 3.3 and 3.4 billion people now own cell phones, or more than half of the world's population.

These numbers are up from an estimated 780 million people owning cell phones in the year 2000.

Earlier in the day, during a “Wall Street Speaks Out” panel, Blair Levin, managing director for investment firm Stifel Nicolaus, said that the Bush administration had flip-flopped on whether or not the OECD global rankings of broadband penetration were important.

Julius Genachowski, a special adviser to the firm General Atlantic and a key technology advisor to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, said that Americans should expect even more technology improvements with Obama as president. The Illinois senator has a strong belief in the importance of technology and has used technology to connect with voters in his campaign, he said.

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