Obama's Latest Broadband Initiative Calls For Faster, Cheaper Internet Access

President Obama traveled to Cedar Falls, Iowa today to make an early announcement ahead of his State of The Union address. The president is setting out to highlight what he views as a need for some U.S. cities to have better choices when it comes to high speed Internet. He will be encouraging the Federal Communications Commission to pressure states in which cities have inadequate Internet connectivity.

President Obama is pushing for faster Internet speeds for Americans
Screen grab: Affordable High Speed For All Americans. Image credit: Whitehouse.gov

The issue stems from some situations in which major broadband suppliers either avoid a particular city or refuse to upgrade existing equipment there, which leads to slower Internet speeds than are enjoyed in other areas of the U.S. and the world. In some cases, state laws make it difficult for cities to widen the competition or even provide their own Internet access to citizens. “When more companies compete for your business, it means lower prices,” said National Economic Council director Jeff Zients, according to The Washington Post.

President Obama is using Cedar Falls as an example of a city that has benefited from municipal broadband. As he explains in an official White House video, the city has Internet speeds that rival major cities globally, while having a population of about 40,000 people. The president’s chart includes Hong Kong, Paris, Seoul, and Tokyo among cities that have Internet speeds at or above 1000Mbps. Los Angeles, by comparison, is shown having half the speed.