Obama: "It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption"

Obama: "It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption"

Summary: The 21st Century Tech President said Saturday morning that the U.S.

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The 21st Century Tech President said Saturday morning that the U.S. will launch new investments in its infrastructure - including a boost of broadband accessibility - as part of a larger strategy to revitalize the economy and create jobs. (Techmeme) Obama YouTubeSpecifically, President-elect Barack Obama said broadband connections need to be made widely available to school children and hospitals. Hospitals should be able to connect to each other via the Internet. He said:

It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption. Here, in the country that invented the Internet, every child should have the chance to get online, and they'll get that chance when I'm president - because that's how we'll strengthen America's competitiveness in the world.

Bravo! It was just days ago that a coalition of technology and telecom companies, along with public interest and other groups, called on Washington to establish a National Broadband Strategy for 2009. It was also just days ago that the government declared that the U.S. has been in a recession since December 2007. According to a report by Agence France-Presse, 533,000 jobs in the U.S. were lost in November, sending the jobless rate to 6.7  percent, the highest since October 1993. The report notes that 2.7 million people have become jobless since the recession began.

"We will create millions of jobs by making the single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s," Obama said in his weekly radio and YouTube address. He said the plan, which includes making public buildings more energy-efficient and building new roads and bridges, will "save or create" 2.5 million jobs.

Topics: Telcos, Broadband, CXO, Networking, IT Employment

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82 comments
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  • When you have profitable ISP's...

    like AT&T that are laying off people just because Wall Street is eat up with greed, there is no need to get excired about these investments. As long as these investments are going to publicly traded companies, the money will just get sucked up and redistibuted to the greedy investors and top management.

    The broadband infrastructure will need to be nationalized if we are to see any real improvements. Just like the interstate system. If the interstate system was run by private enterprise, we would be low on the list in that respect as well.

    There are some things that are too important to the well being of this nation to trust to Corporate America. Profit motive is one thing but it has been supplanted by pure greed. Corporations can no longer be trusted with the future of America's broadband.
    bjbrock
    • Nationalized internet?

      Your points are good until you mentioned 'nationalized broadband'. Are you crazy? Obama has no intention or even proposes to nationalize broadband.

      The example of the highway system is merely to set an example where INVESTMENT to create a critical infrastructure like the highway system resulted in enablement of commerce, the transport/trucking and a multitude on industries.

      Industry today has terrific broadband capabilities but limited to dense population areas and expensive. The key expense to industry is land access to bury fiber, spectrum, the digging itself and a host of things the Fed can help industry with - not own it. Stop spreading crap about what is a terrific Obama vision.
      Prognosticator
      • Terrific, yet patently obvious, if you'll excuse the pun.

        Why, given the boring and aged focus on private vs public, aren't we eagerly pursuing the best of private in a more public format? Why keep banging the boom and bust drum?

        In Britain it appears that Gordon Brown may well do some sensible things with tech infrastructure. Let's hope so. He did drive the details of the bank bail-outs in a good direction.

        Everybody should be able to communicate. Get computers to the less well off. Heck, why not make broadband free for those which sign on, and really cheap for those that are cash strapped?

        Financially, there is no way on earth that having disadvantaged talent is tolerable. It's not a case of corporations helping people. It IS a case of let's not use our perfectly capable arms to operate a robotic arm which kinda does what it should, but almost as a side effect.
        fr0thy2
      • If the highway systrm was owned...

        by private enterprise, the investment would have been used to bolster the owners only. The trucking and other multitude you speak of would then have been controlled by the few owners of the infrastructure. And our highway system would not be as great is it is today. Our highway system is not a product or service but provides untold benefits to those providing goods and services. The Internet should be handled the same way. It is the only way to keep greed from making it less than it could be, Exactly what we are experiencing today. The Internet needs to be a conduit for commerce but not be commerce itself. This is exactly why it is limited to densely populated areas.

        AT&T is laying off 10,000 people. This will defiitely impact the Internet in a negative. And if they are giben money for infrastructure improvements, it is doubtful that they will re-employ those people but instead pass that money on to shareholders and executives without any idea of raising our ranking from 15th. It's corporate greed and it's why we rank 15th.

        I still say nationalize the broadband infrastructure so it can bolster commerce.
        bjbrock
        • If highways were privately owned...

          ...we'd probably have a lot more (privately owned) railroads,
          because inefficient shipping methods wouldn't be subsidized
          by public infrastructure.

          I'm not saying that I would get rid of the public highway
          system. I wouldn't. I think the individual freedom it enables
          is important. But I think private industry would have done a
          much better job at creating an efficient transportation
          system.
          Erik Engbrecht
      • Your wrong

        Obama did not talk about de-regulation, what your talking about, easier land access etc. Also, you would be very naive if you did not think that Obama's end game in telecom is in fact nationalizing telecom infrastructure.

        This is all idiotic anyway, there is still plenty of dark fiber out there from the last telecom boom. Google owns most of it. Private companies like MS, IBM etc are building data centers as fast as they can.

        The end user doesn't think that broadband is a priority. I have a friend that couldn't get broadband because they live in a canyon. His family finally decided it was a big enough priority and got an ATT wirelss broadband card for their computer.

        Btw, what's with ZDNet? It's as if tech now equals socialist! Next time nerds don't skip out on Econ 101!
        stano360
        • And we all know where socialist ends up...nt

          nt
          TheBottomLineIsAllThatMatters
      • One question...who is going to pay for it?

        Who is going to pay for this grand investment for
        things for which there is apparently not a strong
        return on investment? (If there were, private industry
        would have already done it!) Let me guess...taxes and
        surcharges. I ask, why is it my place to pay for
        Internet access for someone who chooses to live
        somewhere where they do not have this amenity? Should
        the government invest in 18 screen megaplexes because,
        after all, sometimes small towns only have one or two
        movie screens.

        I live in the edge of the Atlanta suburbs. I cannot
        even get the highest tier speed where I live and I way
        late getting broadband at all. However, I choose to
        live there and you can bet that if I move again, one
        thing I plan to pay careful attention to is the
        telecommunications infrastructure in whatever area I
        might move to. It is not your responsibility to fund
        laying fiber to my neighborhood. IF there is a
        business case, AT&T will do it. And if I do not like
        what my options where I live, it is incumbent upon me
        to move, not to beg the government to meet my every
        need.
        FinanceBuzz
    • Greed

      [i]As long as these investments are going to publicly traded companies, the money will just get sucked up and redistibuted to the greedy investors and top management.[/i]

      Of course because we all know that George Bush invented Greed.
      mikefarinha
      • More "massaged" it.

        Seriously, it was getting to the point of teaching children NOT to share, because it might dilute their business head for later in life.
        fr0thy2
      • But wait, there's more.

        I thought he invented buffoonery.
        kozmcrae
      • George Bush

        Not necessarily invented, but definitely reinvented.
        ksroe@...
    • Don't expect any improvements

      Congress just let the Telcos off, scot free, with immunity from prosecution for spying on their customers. We have crooks leading the country, beholding to Telcos lobbyist bribes and campaign contributions -- both parties. Oh btw, Obama voted 'Yea' for the immunity too.

      So don't expect any service improvements -- with the exception of maybe higher fees.
      Telexer
    • You would make a good Kommisar

      If the government owned the internets or tubes as they called it, there would be no improvements. I see pot holes, tore off guard rails and rusted out trestle bridges. Besides to maintain roads is a jurisdiction problem with greater costs. Internet can be done wireless with local nodes to accelerate the signal long distance very cheaply. Pouring concrete for miles must be state owned due to the size of project. Your analogy is flawed when getting into details.

      The answer is to have corporations separated from the state, otherwise you would not accomplish anything. Also better people running things and rewriting corporate law would help a great deal.
      osreinstall
    • You lefties are scary

      How you have more faith in the government which has
      shown its incompetence is so many varied ways over the
      years is beyond me. We should nationalize the
      Internet? What about billions if not trillions of
      dollars of private capital that has been invested in
      the Internet? Should that just be confiscated?

      Since when is a motivation for profit been made
      synonymous with greed? A desire for profit is what
      pushes companies to excellence, to do things better
      faster cheaper all while addressing customer needs.
      Sure, there are some abuses, but that is on those
      individuals, not on the greatest driver of business
      excellence that this world has ever known.
      FinanceBuzz
      • Operator Error

        ?How you have more faith in the government which has
        shown its incompetence is so many varied ways?


        It's GIGO. Garbage In, Garbage Out.

        If the Government is being run by incompetents, who run around braying
        ?Government IS the problem !?, you should indeed expect the government to
        act incompetently.

        If the government is run by competent people, you should expect better
        results.

        Nothing is perfect, especially bureaucracy. But a properly run government
        should be at least adequate.
        Jkirk3279
      • Well Said !!!!!

        EXCELLENT POINT !!!!

        If it weren't for profit based motivation, we wouldn't even HAVE computers in our homes !!

        You people think IBM, Microsoft, Apple, and all the other companies that contribute to the consumer PC market do so out of the kindness of their hearts ???

        NOW WHOS NIAVE ????
        RealPauper
    • Socialist view?

      Sounds like you would be happy to let the government own telecom completely. A few questions then. what does the government run well now? How is it going to cost less than private industry? And are you really comfortable giving the government all of our telecommunications. I'm sure the 1984 crowd will love it. We should really give this type of thing some thought. How much will the government charge for internet? :)
      sbass@...
      • I can answer one question

        "How is it going to cost less than private industry?"

        Simply because government run programs don't need to turn a profit. This means if they bring X dollars and that exceed operating costs 100% of that money can go back into infrastructure. Problem is corrupt politicians who either have vest interest seeing a program fail, read paid by private business to ensure failure. Then there is politician that shift the extra money into general coffers to pay for other programs and to pad the budget.

        So do you really want to see that?
        voska1
      • Stone Age...

        US and many other countries are in the stone age as far as services provided to the citizens.

        Estonia considers Internet access a 'human right' and makes it either free or so cheap as to be affordable by everyone.

        As such, most government services are available on-line.

        In most western countries -- profit motives will prevent this from ever happening in the same way.

        Pity.
        Marty R. Milette