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Obama wants wireless to reach 98% of Americans

updated 11:30 pm EST, Tue January 25, 2011

Goal tied with infrastructure spending

President Barack Obama has called for wireless broadband Internet expansion well beyond the goals previously set by the FCC's National Broadband Plan. The president has bumped the availability target up to 98 percent of all Americans. Moving toward the higher number is touted as a way to help boost the economic recovery through increased infrastructure spending.

The National Broadband Plan outlined specific goals regarding the expansion and speed increases. The initiative calls for 90 percent of Americans to have access to at least landline broadband by 2020, with 100 million homes connected to "affordable" 100Mbps service.

The Obama Administration has yet to set a time-frame for reaching its larger goal. The Internet plans were included in a set of infrastructure recommendations that also included repairs and improvements to roads and bridges, along with a high-speed rail network to eventually reach the majority of cities. [via The Washington Post]

by MacNN Staff



    Comment buried. Show
  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Is that all the Narcissistic Community Organizer can do is spend money that the country doesn't have? Next thing He'll tell us is that the Internet is a right.

  1. bmmp

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Yeah, I guess I sort of agree.
    I mean out of all the problems the President could be addressing, broadband shouldn't be one of them. If we want broadband we'll pay for it ourselves.

  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Mr. Strat.

    I hope you're joking.

    You cannot make money without spending money. You cannot make money as a government initially without taxes.

    I really don't understand why people cannot equate taxes with civil order and having bridges and roads and stuff that works, including the national electrical grid, and telecommunications.

    The problem here is people want to pay no taxes, and have this idea that freedom means they can do whatever they feel like doing and not have to pay for it. Freedom means taking responsibility for your actions, limiting some things so that you can have others.

    What do you drive? How would you feel if gas was 10 dollars a gallon tomorrow? You want to stop spending, then let's start with the billions wasted on widening roads. You wanna ride on your road, then you pay for your road directly via gas tax.

    - A

  1. candez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    @bmmp - Yes and No

    One of the things that governments do pretty well is create infrastructure, which in turn facilitates trade. 100 years ago, infrastructure meant roads, rail and telegraph; 30 years ago it meant roads, rail, airports and telephone; now it means roads, rail, airports, telephone and broadband. These are things that are necessary for commerce and can be difficult to coordinate on a large (interstate) scale without government involvement.

    Like with telephone service (and electricity as well), private companies can easily build the infrastructure for broadband in highly populated areas, but the rural areas are left out because in areas with low population density your cost per hookup is much, much higher. Private companies won't spend $100,000 to string the phone lines (or electric lines or fiber-optic cable...) to serve one or two households that will bring in $50/month. Their shareholders would string them up.

    So either someone (nearly always the taxpayers) subsidizes the cost of extending that infrastructure to rural areas or the rural areas never get that particular service. (Oh, and before someone comes back with the "they chose to live in a rural area..." argument, you're right. But I can't grow your food very well in the middle of the city. Some businesses have to be located in BFE.)

    Of course, once the infrastructure is built, the rural folk pay the full rate for the service like everyone else.

    All in all, I have mixed feelings about this plan. Like you, I think there are a lot of other things our government could be focusing on. But on the other hand, I do feel that basic infrastructure to facilitate commerce is one of those classic jobs that really is best done by the government, and I think that broadband has become basic infrastructure needed for facilitating commerce.

  1. samirsshah

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I wish my government was

    this proactive (India) at the highest level with our Prime Minister taking active interest in National Broadband Plan like what your president is doing, Yes, in some cases Indian government is being proactive. But what US and Indian government share is delays and delays. In India, 3G could have come a year earlier, Mobile Number Portability also could have come a year earlier.

    At least there is no question in my mind about my government spending on MOBILE INTERNET INFRASTRUCTURE (I think the back-haul, National Broadband Plan). It is one of the best things that happens to India.

  1. chefpastry

    Joined: Dec 1969



    1. May as well make everything fiber.
    2. Stop ISPs from moving to consumption based pricing.
    3. Stop ISPs from throttling.
    4. End the "zoning" for cable companies and truly open up all markets to all ISPs. Competition will drive costs down.
    5. PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME PAY FOR IT. It might be cheaper to move people who don't have internet access to a location that does. If they add a "wiring entire US" tax, it will be something that will never be removed. Even after every square foot of the US is wired and the amount will increase every year. If the people who don't have internet don't want to move to a location that does, they don't want internet that bad anyway.
    6. If this doesn't pan out, try buying everyone an iPhone.

  1. AllanCook

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Free Wi-Fi

    Nationwide for everyone!

  1. tfmeehan

    Joined: Dec 1969


    RE: Hmmmm

    "I mean out of all the problems the President could be addressing, broadband shouldn't be one of them. If we want broadband we'll pay for it ourselves."

    I'm sorry, I must have missed the part in this article that stated that this was the only thing the President is working on.

    And as to paying for it ourselves, that's a blindly arrogant and elitist attitude that actually leads to increased costs for everyone...inadequate or nonexistent healthcare for the poor, substandard education, deteriorating low income housing, increasingly marginalizing a growing lower class (yes, this includes availability of things like broadband access). These things will cost us way more later than if they are addressed now.

    As a society, our bottom line is not profit margin, but a standard of living for ALL members.

  1. Nate83

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    "As a society, our bottom line is not profit margin, but a standard of living for ALL members. "

    So someone that chooses to live off welfare and food stamps should have a similar standard of living to someone that works 40+ hours a week and actually pays taxes?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I want Apple to make a low-priced mini-tower. Just because someone, even the president, says they 'want' it, doesn't mean it will happen.

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