Obama: wireless Internet for 98% of Americans in five years

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US President Barack Obama said quite a lot during his State of the Union speech. Specifically interesting to us is the bold promises he made regarding the Internet, according to a transcript posted by CBS News:
Within the next five years, we'll make it possible for businesses to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to 98 percent of all Americans. This isn't just about -- (applause) -- this isn't about faster Internet or fewer dropped calls. It's about connecting every part of America to the digital age.

It's about a rural community in Iowa or Alabama where farmers and small business owners will be able to sell their products all over the world. It's about a firefighter who can download the design of a burning building onto a handheld device; a student who can take classes with a digital textbook; or a patient who can have face-to-face video chats with her doctor.

All these investments -- in innovation, education, and infrastructure -- will make America a better place to do business and create jobs. But to help our companies compete, we also have to knock down barriers that stand in the way of their success.

The Obama administration has endorsed making 500 megahertz of spectrum available over the next decade to meet the growing demand for broadband services, including from the proliferation of tablets and smartphones. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) hopes to repurpose 120 megahertz of spectrum through incentive auctions where television broadcasters would voluntarily give up spectrum in exchange for a portion of the proceeds.

Last month, the FCC admitted that 68 percent of US broadband connections weren't really broadband. If Obama has his way, that number will have to start dropping very, very quickly.


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