The White House Wants To Connect Us All With Fast Broadband
June 15, 2012

The White House Wants To Connect Us All With Fast Broadband

Michael Harper for

The White House on Wednesday announced they will sign an Executive Order to make broadband construction up to 90% cheaper and more efficient. Entitled “US Ignite,” the Obama administration plans to develop a network along Federal roadways and in between our nation´s universities which will be up to 100 times faster than our current internet offerings. Partnering with 100 private and public entities, US Ignite aims to provide more than 25 cities with a “new wave of services” to take advantage of these super fast, programmable broadband networks.

Currently, the procedures for approving various broadband networks across the nation depend largely on which agency owns the roads and property in the area. Obama´s Executive Order should simplify these procedures, introducing a unified approach to the way broadband carriers build out these new networks. In the end, businesses, communities and schools should be able to access and take advantage of these networks, thanks to US Ignite.

According to a White House statement, President Obama proclaimed, "By connecting every corner of our country to the digital age, we can help our businesses become more competitive, our students become more informed and our citizens become more engaged."

US Ignite will act as a partnership between software developers and engineers from the government as well as the private sector to build a nationwide broadband infrastructure capable of handling our ever-growing data and information needs. The partnership will focus on building a broadband backbone of sorts between roadways and campuses which will operate at speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second.

In addition to super-fast internet speeds, the White House´s announcement also promises to create new jobs and opportunities for local and small businesses as well as startups and students alike.

Wednesday's statement also announces commitments from industry partners such as Cisco, NEC and Hewlett-Packard, who will offer support to the communities. Carriers such as Comcast and Verizon have said they will announce new pilot cities for the US Ignite network. Non-profit organizations, like the Mott Foundation, will sponsor programs to help integrate these networks into the communities. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has also committed $20 million to help build prototypes and deploy these new technologies to connect more than 60 universities. The NSF has already announced they plan to invest even more over the next 4 years towards the Global Environment for Networking Innovations (GENI) project, which currently connects some of these universities.

The NSF is also partnering with Mozilla Foundation and the Department of Energy to sponsor a $500,000 design competition to build out applications for US Ignite while the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce have announced they will support the effort by funding the expansion for more than 6 carriers to create community-based services.

Military families will also be able to take advantage of this new program, as the Department of Defense is also promising to connect their military bases through US Ignite. As it stands, only one city in America–Chattanooga, Tennessee–has such a broadband network, and it´s owned by the cities´ electric and power company.