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Democratic platform: 'High-speed internet connectivity is not a luxury'

With the Democratic National Convention now under way, theparty released a 2016 platform that reaffirmed its support of the FCC's netneutrality rules while also addressing broadband and 5G deployment,cybersecurity, and IP concerns.

The platform stresses the need to make affordable high-speedinternet available to all Americans, saying that while progress has been madeunder President Barack Obama, "there is more work to do." TheDemocratic platform pledges to "finish the job of connecting everyhousehold in America to high-speed broadband, increase internet adoption, andhelp hook up anchor institutions so they can offer free Wi-Fi to the public."

The Republican platformreleased earlier disputes the effectiveness of the Obama administration'sefforts to expand broadband deployment and pledges to encourage public-privatepartnerships to connect rural areas.

Both parties addressed the FCC's Open Internet order,adopted in February 2015, which reclassified wireline and wireless broadbandservice as a telecommunications service subject to common carrier regulationunder Title II of the Communications Act. The reclassification enabled the FCCto impose a number of rules aimed at protecting net neutrality, such as banningblocking, throttling and paid prioritization of content. While thereclassification has faced legal challenges, the U.S. Court of Appeals for theD.C. Circuit in June issued a 2-1 ruling upholding the order.

The Democratic platform states the party supports "afree and open internet at home and abroad, and will oppose any effort byRepublicans to roll back the historic net neutrality rules that the FederalCommunications Commission enacted last year." The Republican Party in itsplatform voices sharpdisapproval of the FCC's order.

The Democratic platform also targets facilitating thedevelopment and adoption of 5G wireless technology to "enable the Internetof Things and a host of transformative technologies."

Addressing the issue of cybersecurity, the Democratic Partyplatform promises to build on the Obama Administration's Cybersecurity NationalAction Plan,which calls for the creation of a commission of business and technical leadersfrom outside the government to make recommendations on how to strengthen cybersecurity.The party platform specifically supports the Obama administration's plan toappoint a new Chief Information Security Officer to oversee implementation ofkey cybersecurity upgrade and modernization efforts. It also stresses thatcybersecurity measures should not impose on the privacy and civil liberties ofthe American people and affirms the party's support of recentreforms to government bulk data collection programs that prevent the collectionand holding of millions of files on U.S. citizens.

"We will support a national commission on digitalsecurity and encryption to bring together technology and public safetycommunities to address the needs of law enforcement, protect the privacy ofAmericans, assess how innovation might point to new policy approaches, andadvance our larger national security and global competitiveness interests,"the platform reads.

The Republican platform stresses that the U.S. should have aswift and strong reaction to cybersecurity attackers, via "diplomatic,financial, and legal pain, curtailing visas for guilty parties, freezing theirassets, and pursuing criminal actions against them."

Addressing the protection of intellectual property rights,the Democrats promise "to fight against unfair theft of intellectual propertyand trade secrets." The party platform proposes to encourage access toglobal digital markets by "opposing quotas, discriminatory measures anddata localization requirements."