Law Would Offer Government PCs to Small Businesses

Two U.S. senators on Monday introduced a bill to help small businesses that want access to broadband services and new technologies.

Key items in the bill, introduced by Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts and Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, are based on recommendations made in the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's broadband plan, released in March.

If passed, the bill would provide for the appointment of a broadband and emerging technology coordinator at the Small Business Administration who would coordinate agency programs that help small businesses adopt broadband and other new technologies.

It would also create a pilot program that would offer excess government-owned computers to small businesses at little or no cost. The pilot would last for three years and involve no more than 1,000 working or non-working desktops and laptops.

The bill would also allow small businesses to use the existing Small Business Administration Microloan program to upgrade to broadband technology.

In a statement, both senators said they hoped the legislation would help small businesses, particularly in rural areas of their states, to grow by reaching customers outside their local areas.

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