The House Energy and Commerce Committee supported the inclusion of about $3 billion in grants to expand internet service as part of a larger economic stimulus bill, including a provision requiring "open access" in wireless service and on the internet, Reuters reports. The Democrat-led committee on Jan. 22 cleared the provisions aimed at expanding high-speed internet and wireless service in rural and hard-to-serve areas over objections from several Republican members. Another $3 billion sought for broadband expansion in rural areas will be considered by the House Agriculture Committee. The Democrats’ overall $825-billion stimulus plan is expected to go before the full House next week for a vote. Some Republicans on the commerce panel tried to block the $3 billion internet provision, saying it would not stimulate the economy. "This is not an economic stimulus, it’s a massive spending bill," said Joseph Pitts, a Republican from Pennsylvania. Lawmakers who support the funding say it will create jobs to help jumpstart the ailing economy. A Brookings Institution study found that every one percentage-point increase in broadband penetration per year could yield 300,000 jobs…

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