The Obama administration's American Jobs Act unveiled today misses the opportunity to build out the nation's outmoded wireline telecommunications infrastructure at a time when millions of Americans remain disconnected from the Internet. The White House instead continues to propose mobile broadband as the means of bridging the gap:
Expanding Nationwide Wireless Internet Services For the Public and the First Responders, in a Fiscally Responsible Way: The plan follows the model in the bipartisan legislation from Senators Rockefeller and Hutchison in including an investment to develop and deploy a nationwide, interoperable wireless network for public safety. The plan includes reallocating the D Block for public safety (costing $3 billion) and $7 billion to support the deployment of this network and technological development to tailor the network to meet public safety requirements. This is part of a broader deficit-reducing wireless initiative that would free up public and private spectrum to enable the private sector to deploy high-speed wireless services to at least 98 percent of Americans, even those living in remote rural and farming communities.It's a major misapprehension on the part of the Obama administration to propose mobile wireless broadband as the means of connecting American homes and businesses to the Internet. Mobile broadband as its name implies is primary intended for mobile access and not to serve fixed premises locations. That's why it comes with preset caps on how much bandwidth is allotted to each customer as this post by Community Broadband Networks explains. Wireless Internet providers don't want customers using it for regularly accessing the Internet and particularly downloading high bandwidth demand video content.
Instead of taking this misguided approach, the administration should as part of its American Jobs Act fund fiber optic to the premises infrastructure and provide technical assistance grants to local governments and consumer telecom cooperatives to help them deploy it to homes and businesses where a business case cannot be made by investor owned providers to build out their incomplete networks.