Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Obama proposes additional funds for broadband infrastructure

President Barack Obama said in a speech today at the Brookings Institution that more federal subsidies are forthcoming for broadband infrastructure as part of a renewed effort to create badly needed jobs. Whatever the amount, it will supplement the $7.2 billion already allocated in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Obama signed into law in February.

Here's the relevant excerpt from a transcript of the president's remarks posted on the White House Web site:
Second, we're proposing a boost in investment in the nation's infrastructure beyond what was included in the Recovery Act, to continue modernizing our transportation and communications networks. These are needed public works that engage private sector companies, spurring hiring all across the country.

Already, more than 10,000 of these projects have been funded through the Recovery Act. And by design, Recovery Act work on roads, bridges, water systems, Superfund sites, broadband networks, and clean energy projects will all be ramping up in the months ahead.

Whatever the additional amount agreed to by the president and Congress, there's still a long way to go given the consensus view that the $7.2 billion in the economic stimulus package represents a mere down payment on what the U.S. needs to invest to modernize its outmoded and incomplete telecommunications infrastructure as Blair Levin, the Federal Communications Commission's broadband czar, generally described the amount as the Obama administration prepared to take office one year ago.

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