Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Obama pushes wi-fi

By ERICA WERNER
February 10, 2011

In this photo taken Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011, Doug Pennala, logistics manager V.I.O. Inc., adjusts controls on a miniature camera the company sells from its building overlooking Lake Superior in Marquette, Mich. The helmet camera company, which sells, markets and distributes its products online, is one of the off-the-beaten-path small businesses that owe their success to high-speed Internet access, which President Barack Obama considers a potential economic savior for America's countryside and small towns. (AP Photo/John Flesher)

President Barack Obama wants nearly all Americans to have access to speedy wireless services. He’s promoting that plan in a small city in Michigan that’s becoming a model for how the Internet can bring prosperity to far-flung places.

Obama on Thursday heads to Marquette, Mich., a university and tourism town of 20,000 overlooking Lake Superior that cherishes both its geographical remoteness and technological savvy. There he’ll see high-tech wireless initiatives in action at Northern Michigan University, where students telecommute, and talk about the plan he unveiled in his State of the Union address to expand access to high-speed wireless to 98 percent of the population within five years.

Obama’s plan involves nearly doubling the space available on the airwaves for wireless high-speed Internet traffic to keep up with ever-growing demand. This would be accomplished in part by auctioning off space on the radio spectrum to commercial wireless carriers. The White House says this would raise nearly $30 billion over 10 years, and the money could be spent on initiatives that include $10 billion to develop a national broadband network for public safety agencies and $5 billion for infrastructure to help rural areas access high-speed wireless.

It’s all conditioned on congressional approval, and the proposals may get cold-shouldered by the Republicans who now control the House and have made clear they want to decrease spending in most areas, not go along with the targeted increases in areas like infrastructure and education that the president is pursuing.

Portions of the plan will be included in the 2012 budget proposal Obama unveils next week.

President Barack Obama wants nearly all Americans to have access to speedy wireless services. He’s promoting that plan in a small city in Michigan that’s becoming a model for how the Internet can bring prosperity to far-flung places.

Obama on Thursday heads to Marquette, Mich., a university and tourism town of 20,000 overlooking Lake Superior that cherishes both its geographical remoteness and technological savvy. There he’ll see high-tech wireless initiatives in action at Northern Michigan University, where students telecommute, and talk about the plan he unveiled in his State of the Union address to expand access to high-speed wireless to 98 percent of the population within five years.

It’s a lofty goal considering such technology is only now being built in major cities by AT&T, Verizon and others. And it costs billions of dollars that Republicans probably will be unwilling to spend. But it’s all part of Obama’s new focus on innovation, technology and competitiveness as a pathway to jobs and “winning the future” — the new White House mantra.

Obama’s plan involves nearly doubling the space available on the airwaves for wireless high-speed Internet traffic to keep up with ever-growing demand. This would be accomplished in part by auctioning off space on the radio spectrum to commercial wireless carriers. The White House says this would raise nearly $30 billion over 10 years, and the money could be spent on initiatives that include $10 billion to develop a national broadband network for public safety agencies and $5 billion for infrastructure to help rural areas access high-speed wireless.

It’s all conditioned on congressional approval, and the proposals may get cold-shouldered by the Republicans who now control the House and have made clear they want to decrease spending in most areas, not go along with the targeted increases in areas like infrastructure and education that the president is pursuing.

Portions of the plan will be included in the 2012 budget proposal Obama unveils next week.

___

Associated Press writers Joelle Tessler in Washington and John Flesher in Marquette, Mich., contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press

4 Responses to Obama pushes wi-fi

  1. griff

    February 10, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Oh boy! More “free” stuff from the government! Only it’s won’t really be free, and it will likely cost far more than it should becasue, of course, we all know how efficient and cost-conscious the Hill People are as compared to the competitive marketplace.

    This is a bad idea, no matter how wonderful they make it sound.

    • Almandine

      February 10, 2011 at 3:49 pm

      But think of the benefits… they’ll have the absolute location of everyone in the country at a moment’s notice.

      • griff

        February 10, 2011 at 4:08 pm

        Yep. Like George Orwell meets the Sims. Of course, if you already have a cell phone…

  2. woody188

    February 11, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    And now you know why you had to buy a new TV and switch to digital television. The government had plans for that wireless spectrum all along.