Obama Will Urge F.C.C. to Expand Local Broadband

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Reposted from the New York Times:

President Obama on Wednesday will ask the Federal Communications Commission to pre-empt state laws that restrict communities’ ability to expand high-speed Internet access to underserved areas. He will make the announcement in Cedar Falls, Iowa, which has its own cable and high-speed data networks, including a one-gigabit broadband network that is 100 times as fast as the national average.

The initiative includes an effort by the Commerce Department to help communities with broadband infrastructure as well as loans and grants from the Agriculture Department to Internet providers in rural areas and the creation of an interagency council to speed up broadband deployment, White House officials said. The administration has also scheduled a meeting on broadband efforts for mayors and other local officials in June.

The moves are crucial to Mr. Obama’s plan to nurture innovation, the president’s advisers said, and keep the United States competitive with other nations that have faster and more widespread Internet connections. “Clearly, Americans want and need better, faster broadband because so much of our day-to-day lives and so many of the jobs we want to create depend on access,” said Jeffrey D. Zients, director of the National Economic Council. “High-speed broadband is central to maintaining our global advantage.”

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