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White House pushes new wireless initiative to spur innovation

Posted at 12 February 2011 02:22 CEST by Justin_Massoud

The Obama administration views wireless technology as an important factor in America’s future, according to yesterday’s speech by President Obama in Marquette, Michigan. So important that the government is rolling out a new plan designed to expand and enhance wireless capabilities across the United States.

The National Wireless Initiative, as laid out in this video featuring Austan Goolsbee, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, is a three-part plan that includes: auctioning off 500 MHz of airwaves; offering incentives for companies that add to the wireless network; and the Wireless Innovation Fund, which will provide money to scientists working on developing a stronger, more secure wireless infrastructure.

Goolsbee supported the government’s plan, saying, “Many people believe the next round of the internet revolution is going to be on wireless.” He pointed to the more than 12 billion apps downloaded to mobile devices and 80,000 companies making money in the downloadable app space as evidence, humorously adding, “I understand there are even two kid millionaires in Finland selling games about angry birds!”

Some critics, however, worry the plan places a disproportionate focus on aiding corporate entities that may not require it.

S. Derek Turner, the Research Director at non-profit media reform advocacy site FreePress.net, said in response to the news: “While we are pleased to see the president focusing on our nation’s broadband challenges, we are concerned that the public interest is being overlooked in this proposal to sell more of our public airwaves to wireless companies like AT&T and Verizon,” adding, “These industry giants are already building out their networks and expanding coverage, and they don’t need a handout from the federal government to achieve the president’s goals.”

One company mentioned by Turner offered more supportive words for the initiative.

“President Obama has outlined a comprehensive and aggressive plan that lays the groundwork for bringing wireless broadband to all Americans,” said John Donovan, AT&Ts Chief Technology Officer. “AT&T applauds the Administration’s support for the role that industry and private investment play in making this important goal a reality.”

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There are 4 comments

BradWright
MyCE Member
Posted on: 13 Feb 11 23:14
    I thought this story was about high speed internet access?

    That said, I don't think we need the costs for this being driven up with unnecessary government regulations and intervention. Internet speeds are dramatically increasing. Five years ago, the fastest connection I could get was 1.5 Mb/sec. Now I have 12 Mb, but can get 20, and other parts of town can get up to 40 Mb/sec. Google is actually experimenting with 1 Gb/sec speeds in a few cities. People in rural areas can get satellite service which is currently no as fast and is more expensive, but it also is getting cheaper and faster, and no government intervention has been required. The market will take care of itself.
    debro
    Blown to smitherines
    Posted on: 13 Feb 11 23:40
      Quote:
      Originally Posted by BradWright
      I thought this story was about high speed internet access?

      That said, I don't think we need the costs for this being driven up with unnecessary government regulations and intervention. Internet speeds are dramatically increasing. Five years ago, the fastest connection I could get was 1.5 Mb/sec. Now I have 12 Mb, but can get 20, and other parts of town can get up to 40 Mb/sec. Google is actually experimenting with 1 Gb/sec speeds in a few cities. People in rural areas can get satellite service which is currently no as fast and is more expensive, but it also is getting cheaper and faster, and no government intervention has been required. The market will take care of itself.
      And here I was thinking gigabit wireless was a few years away .....
      Either Obama is totally on the ball, or he's throwing around catchy terms.

      At any rate, regulation is required to ensure companies play ball together for the good of the consumers and country and not just the good of the companies involved.
      Dee
      Senior Administrator and Reviewer
      Posted on: 15 Feb 11 18:35
        Quote:
        Originally Posted by BradWright
        I thought this story was about high speed internet access?
        Correct.

        Several "off topic posts" removed
        samlar
        MyCE Resident
        Posted on: 15 Feb 11 20:53
          Great back on track


          The problem is that all government wants is to spend tax dollars to make wireless better, instead of passing laws that force the private companies to improve there service.

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