As members of Congress consider economic stimulus bill provisions that would provide billions in funding for broadband expansion, FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein and academics from across the country agreed that increased investment in broadband accompanied by an overhaul of wireline and wireless broadband policy are critical in boosting the economy and America’s competitive stance on a global scale. At a conference Monday sponsored by the New America Foundation, Adelstein called for upgrades to “our communications infrastructure in every corner of this country,” as he observed that “all of the big challenges that were debated” throughout the recent presidential campaign “can be addressed to some extent through improvements” to the nation’s telecom infrastructure. Adelstein told his audience that a key part of that upgraded infrastructure would be based on wireless broadband, which he described as “the wave of the future.” As such, Adelstein urged the Obama Administration to place special emphasis on the management and efficient use of scarce spectrum resources that are needed to support the proliferation of wireless broadband services and applications. Lamenting that the U.S. “has fallen behind many of our global competitors when it comes to competition, value and speeds and deployment of broadband,” Marvon Ammori, an assistant professor of law at the University of Nebraska, said the Obama Administration must address three key challenges: (1) increasing broadband deployment in rural areas, (2) upgrading urban broadband networks to make them more compatible with their foreign counterparts, and (3) slashing prices for broadband access. Professor Sharon Stover of the University of Texas echoed Ammori’s remarks on rural broadband, noting that only 39% of rural homes have access to broadband services that typically cost more than such service in more populated markets. As part of any wireless broadband regime, Rob Frieden of Pennsylvania State University urged the extension of Carterfone-style open access provisions to the wireless industry, as he warned that the “locking” of handsets and other devices on specific carrier networks would restrict content applications.