Women, rural Americans need some broadband love, too: … and cheaply (with real competition, not some deregulated greedygrabbin’ scam). But doesn’t somebody need a smack on the wrist with a ruler or something rightaboutnow?

The study was conducted at the request of Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., the senior minority member of the House subcommittee on telecommunications and the Internet. In a statement issued Thursday, Markey focused on the cost chasm between broadband and narrowband Internet users and stressed the need for competition among local broadband providers.

Bridging the digital divide was a pet project of the Clinton administration, but it clearly is not at the top of President Bush’s agenda. Bush already has proposed reducing the budget of the Technology Opportunities Program by 65 percent to $15 million, and his Federal Communications Commission Chairman, Michael Powell, recently likened the digital divide to a “Mercedes divide — I’d like to have one but can’t afford one.”

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