President Obama outlined his wireless infrastructure plan and the biggest takeaway is that he wants 98 percent of Americans to have access to 4G service. Obama's plan has the following components:
- Double wireless spectrum available for mobile broadband. The White House says it aims to free up the 500 Mhz band with enough financial incentives to get current licensees to cough up the spectrum.
- A $3 billion fund to support wireless innovation and development.
- Deploy a interoperable public safety wireless network.
- A one-time $5 billion fund to build out 4G in rural areas.
That final part is probably the most noteworthy. The aim is to blanket the country in 4G and Obama positioned the move almost as a wired broadband replacement. The plan notes:
Absent additional government investment, millions of Americans will not be able to participate in the 4G revolution. To that end, the President’s Budget supports the 4G buildout in rural areas through a one-time $5 billion investment. This investment, to be managed by the FCC, will help catalyze universal service reform to provide access to higher-speed wireless and wired broadband, dovetail with the need for public safety to have a wireless network available in rural areas, and extend access from the almost 95% of Americans who have 3G wireless services today to at least 98% of all Americans gaining access to state-of-the-art 4G high-speed wireless services within five years. Extending access to high-speed wireless not only provides a valuable service to Americans living in those areas—access to medical tests, online courses, and applications that have not yet been invented—but also catalyzes economic growth by enabling consumers and businesses living in those areas to participate in the 21st century economy.