Obama Unveils $18 Billion Wireless Plan For Rural Internet

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News Posted: Fri, Feb 11 2011 10:50 AM
While Republicans across the nation are screaming to cut spending, there's one thing in particular that's hard to scream about: education. But if there's a second thing, it's probably infrastructure. It's obvious that a nation's economy can be bolstered and boosted by widespread Internet access. Just look at nations where Internet is nearly everywhere (South Korea), compared to nations where it's almost nowhere (North Korea).

This week, President Barack Obama announced a new plan that acts as a bolt-on to the Rural Broadband initiative already going around. This new wireless access plan would extend wireless/broadband Internet to 98% of Americans, and if he plays his cards right, it could actually reduce the deficit. Of course, that's the point of contention, but focusing solely on the technology side of things for the purposes of this article, we can't help but be excited by that notion.

Obama said the following: "We can't expect tomorrow's economy to take root using yesterday's infrastructure. We've got to think about what's the next thing and make sure that we're at the forefront, just like we were in the last century." It's an $18 billion plan in total, which includes $5 billion to help the development of 4G networks in rural areas. Another $10 billion would be used to build a wireless network for first responders and emergency services, while the remaining $3 billion will be used in research for emerging wireless technologies.

How to pay for all of this? Obama hopes that the sale of freed wireless spectrum will, with a goal to raise $27.8 billion. It remains to be seen if that amount can be fetched, but we're all about broadband everywhere. Here's hoping it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to get it.

 FACT SHEET: President Obama’s Plan to Win the Future through the Wireless Innovation and Infrastructure Initiative

In his State of the Union address, President Obama set the goal of enabling businesses to provide high-speed wireless services to at least 98 percent of all Americans within five years.  The rollout of the next generation of high-speed wireless—the “4G” technology now being deployed in the United States by leading carriers—promises considerable benefits to our economy and society.  More than 10 times faster than current high speed wireless services, this technology promises to benefit all Americans, bolster public safety, and spur innovation in wireless services, equipment, and applications.  By catalyzing private investment and innovation and reducing the deficit by $9.6 billion, this initiative will help the United States win the future and compete in the 21st century economy.

    * Nearly Double Wireless Spectrum Available for Mobile Broadband:  The President has set the goal of freeing up 500 MHz of spectrum for everything from smartphones to wireless broadband connectivity for laptops to new forms of machine-to-machine communication within a decade.  Critical to realizing this goal are “voluntary incentive auctions” and more efficient use of government spectrum, estimated to raise $27.8 billion over the next decade.
    * Provide At Least 98% of Americans with Access to 4G High-Speed Wireless:  Private investments are extending 4G to most of the Nation, but leaving some rural areas behind.  The President’s initiative would support a one-time investment of $5 billion and reform of the “Universal Service Fund” to ensure millions more Americans will be able to use this technology.
    * Catalyze Innovation Through a Wireless Innovation (WIN):  To spur innovation, $3 billion of the spectrum proceeds will go to research and development of emerging wireless technologies and applications.
    * Develop and Deploy a Nationwide, Interoperable Wireless Network for Public Safety: The President’s Budget calls for a $10.7 billion commitment to support the development and deployment of a nationwide wireless broadband network to afford public safety agencies with far greater levels of effectiveness and interoperability.  An important element of this plan is the reallocation of the D Block for public safety and $500 million within the WIN Fund.
    * Cut the Deficit By $9.6 Billion Over the Next Decade:  Nearly $10 billion of spectrum auction revenue will be devoted to deficit reduction.
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"How to pay for all of this? Obama hopes that the sale of freed wireless spectrum will, with a goal to raise $27.8 billion. It remains to be seen if that amount can be fetched, but we're all about broadband everywhere. Here's hoping it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to get it."

Nice job, throw money at it. Roll the dice with taxpayer money and "Hope" that amount can be fetched. This will do absolutely NOTHING to reduce the deficit. Obama is like a spoiled, rebellious teenager who has stolen his daddy's credit card.

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"It's obvious that a nation's economy can be bolstered and boosted by widespread Internet access. Just look at nations where Internet is nearly everywhere (South Korea), compared to nations where it's almost nowhere (North Korea). "---Ray Willington

WTF?! What and extraordinary statement to make. It's like saying the health of the Ukrainian economy under Stalin would have been closer to America's had he spent taxes on a more reliable phone system and postal delivery service. I mean, Jesus H Christ!

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Terrific initiative!

America can't compete in this new world with part of your country and population still living in the 20th century. It's an expensive, but necessary step...just like his plans for the high speed rail. Obama isn't following in the steps of FDR's New Deal, America's infrastructure has been neglected over the past decade.

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rapid1 replied on Fri, Feb 11 2011 10:50 PM

gibbersome I agree entirely! Where many such as juliosanchez disagree with this obviously, and generally in regards to groups like the Tea Party refuse to see the point. I will make it easy to see. Have you seen the news stories 2 in the last 3 days now i think as well as one last month, and several last year on the gas lines bursting. Well many other parts of this nations infrastructure are also in the same state of repair as well as functionality. In many cases it is either non-existent or sorely needing repair. The communications backbone while maybe a little better in or near large cities is in the same state of repair for the rural areas within this country which are actually predominately most of the US.

Often I will hear about how our kids will pay for the financial state of the US which is being implemented. As the father of 3 young daughters I know this is true. It is also true that if these things are not done they will not have enough to pay for these as well as the deficits run up by every politician from both parties since FDR also.

I personally think a flat retail taxation system is also sorely needed because not only would it eliminate the IRS as well as the need and cost for it at least to the greater amount, it would also tax any illegal immigrant, and anyone who traveled into this country, and relatively tax those who bought bigger ticket items to a greater percentage, and thereby equalize taxation across the board for all the legal citizens as well.

The High speed rail as you mention I think could also be a good idea if implemented correctly as well as where necessary. But I think the true backbone of our country is even more vital, and it must be repaired correctly if this country is to continue to succeed.

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3vi1 replied on Sat, Feb 12 2011 1:49 PM

>> Obama is like a spoiled, rebellious teenager who has stolen his daddy's credit card.

Still? Really? I was under the impression that spending had to be approved by Congress. Why haven't they cut his spending for the two wars carried over from the previous administration yet?

If you listen to economists, deficit spending is the recommended way to end a recession. It just needs to be spent on the right things. The fact that a depression was averted gives me some hope.

Republicans can implement cuts if they want - reducing actual items that don't create jobs or provide long-term benefit would be welcomed. I'd like to see if they can pick some specific items and not just approve vague area-wide reductions. It doesn't help to reduce a budget if the money still in it is spent on the wrong things.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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jonation replied on Wed, Feb 16 2011 10:33 AM

3vi1:
If you listen to economists, deficit spending is the recommended way to end a recession.

That truly depends on which school of economics. Defect spending can be seen more in the light of a Ponzi scheme if viewed and carried out differently. Just think about it: you spend alot of money you dont have, then you need people to keep starting businesses to keep regenerating capital to keep it going- otherwise a massive depression/collapse occurs. All of those "economists" have never successfully predicted a depression, while those who are ostracized have predicted every modern depression (including the great).

My main issue with this bill is cost. I think its great, but too damn optimistic to say this. Both parties show no sign of cutting spending, the Repubs presented cuts that don't even appear after the rounding. I mean when the iPad was released it crashed AT&T's service in Manhattan and San Fransisco. Imagine the size of the backbone for 98% of Americans... Trillions of dollars. WE COULD DO THIS if many many things are cut (many things should be so no big deal right?- wrong).

But really is this even necessary? This just feels like a gloating device, how about focusing on getting everyone DSL or Cable first. Or fixing all the damn roads or other infrastructure. OR HOW ABOUT PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION for f*cks sake. Lower the amount of accidents, cost of insurance (optimistically, prob not though). I just think there are too many things to spend 28 billion on before internet.

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jonation replied on Wed, Feb 16 2011 10:53 AM

gibbersome:
Obama isn't following in the steps of FDR's New Deal


Good cuz we'd get into more debt and then we'd  need World War 3 to start without us so we can sell our armory again.
I'm not saying that these Ideas and plans are bad, just horribly untimely. (in this current economic  state)

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realneil replied on Wed, Feb 16 2011 12:06 PM

He's after doing this for many reasons. Yes,...it would help us to compete on a more level communications playing field worldwide. And yes, It would reinvigorate our economy to a degree. He also knows that if he can pull it off, (this is the 800 pound Gorilla in the room) it will be a popular move with the people, and he's thinking of reelection next year.

Freeing up spectrum and then selling it off will not bring the desired amounts of money into the fold because he first has to take it away from someone, Idea(“voluntary incentive auctions”)Idea and then sell it back to them for his plan to succeed. (there will be added restrictions on how it must be used too and corporations will not like that) This plan of his is unrealistic at best. Not that it's a bad idea, but because they'll fight him at every turn to prevent it.  I think that after he takes said spectrum away, (hint: it will not really be voluntary) they'll be angry with him and will not bid more than a tiny fraction of what it's worth, just to spike his plans and make him look bad in the public light. They are a very powerful force to be reckoned with and they have deep pockets too. This lack of cooperation goes directly to his reelection plans and the fact that the GOP kisses corporation's asses better. They'll want him out, and will do anything to protect their interests,..............*anything*.

Finally, I think that POTUS's heart is in the right place, but I don't trust that he'll see it through to completion. He still hasn't closed Guantanamo Bay's prison down, but he promised that he would do so before he was elected. Hes hasn't wound down the wars in the Mid East yet, not really,.....and that was a promise that he made as well.

He is a wonderful talker, and he seems to know exactly what to say at any given moment to make it seem like everything's alright. But everything is far from alright and everyone knows it.

The blame can't be squarely placed on POTUS's shoulders though. The GOP has truly turned into the party of "NO" and to hell with the consequences to our economy and country too. They spiked everything that he's tried to do, just because he wanted it.

Also consider that the lame-ass Democrats had control over all three branches of government for two full years and they squandered that advantage with infighting and bickering until the people grew tired of their BS and started kicking them out. They had control and didn't do anything significant except pass a flawed health care law requiring people to buy insurance that will surely rise in price until we're choking on it.

Government as we knew it is dead, and will forever be in the hands of corporations.


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