Saturday, January 28, 2012

Obama cites America's "incomplete" telecom infrastructure in State of Union address

Since this blog was created in 2006, it has been dedicated to the exploration of strategies and methods for the build out of America's incomplete digital telecommunications network that leaves millions disconnected from the Internet because modern telecommunications infrastructure does not reach their homes and small businesses.

It was thus very encouraging to hear President Barack Obama call out the nation's "incomplete high-speed broadband network that prevents a small business owner in rural America from selling her products all over the world" in his State of the Union address to Congress this week. Millions of Americans are painfully aware of just how incomplete Internet infrastructure is as they look only a couple of miles away or even just down the road or street to neighbors who have access while they do not.

The president also used his speech to call upon Congress to fund telecom and other critical infrastructure. Congress should respond to Obama's urging by providing technical assistance and construction funding for community-based networks to finish the job where investor-owned providers such as legacy telcos and cable companies cannot make a business case for doing so. This is what was done in the 1930s when market failure led to a similar problem with telephone service and electrical power and cooperatives and local governments filled in the gaps.

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