President Obama is set to deliver a speech later today outlining the White House plan to bring wireless broadband to 98 percent of the country within five years, offering details on the National Wireless Initiative he first announced in last month’s State of the Union address.
Ahead of the president’s remarks, senior White House officials detailed the plan to reporters, explaining that the money raised through proposed spectrum auctions would help pay down the deficit, while also equipping wireless providers with the capacity they need to build out 4G networks, and boosting the federal Universal Service Fund with a one-time influx of capital to subsidize build-outs in rural and remote areas.
“Companies are already doing the lion’s share of the work to get us there,” said Jason Furman, deputy director of the National Economic Council. “But those private plans by themselves aren’t going to reach into rural areas, into remote areas.”
Additionally, Obama is proposing to set aside more than $10.7 billion to deliver the nationwide, interoperable communications network for public safety workers that several past policy efforts have failed to achieve.
The USF and public safety funding, coupled with $3 billion for a wireless innovation fund, will steal leave the government with $9.6 billion to pay against the deficit over the next 10 years, according to the estimate of the Office of Management and Budget.
Enterprise Mobile Today reports on President Obama’s National Wireless Initiative.