Nationwide Broadband Service

Nationwide Broadband Service

The federal government has embarked on an ambitious plan to provide high speed wireless services to 98% of all Americans within the next five years.  If successful, this plan will help double the U.S. broadband spectrum. 


While this plan will not be cheap there are ideas about how to finance it.  Most of the funds will come from the sale of part of the spectrum which will in turn be used to build out the network and reduce the federal deficit all at the same time.  It is estimated that it will cost $ 15 billion in order to complete this project and bring wireless services to most of the country including the rural regions.  Extra funding will be available through repurposing rural wire line subsidies.  Overall, it is estimated that the government could make almost $ 28 billion over the sale of excess spectrum over the course of the next ten years.  Since this sum is expected to be well over the cost of the actual build out of the wireless network, the rest will go toward reducing the country’s debt. 


This move to give internet access to almost every resident of the country is one that is being compared to building the Transcontinental Railroad or the interstate highway system as one in importance to the nation.  This move will help bring together and accelerate breakthroughs in medicine, education and transportation.  Not only will more people have access to information they never have had before, but the installation will create thousands of much needed jobs.  According to the Obama administration, it is time that the 21st century expands to all cities and towns throughout the United States.  With the broadband internet coming to all communities there will new opportunities for businesses and students alike.  The hope is that children will no longer have to move in order to find opportunities, but rather they can stay at home with all the same resources as large urban regions. 


In a rare move, key members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are working to make this plan a reality.  In January, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV (D-West Virginia) introduced the Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovations Act.  In addition a Republican and a Democrat were joined by five others from the two parties in introducing the Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011.  All agree that forward thinking is needed to bring the entire country online. 


In addition to bringing internet service to the vast majority of the country, President Obama has also unveiled a plan to incorporate a nationwide interoperable public safety communications network. This network, which was first proposed in by the 9/11 Commission, will result in the creation of a wireless public safety network.  While the main function of this network will be to assist emergency service personnel it can also be used for high speed wireless services during normal operations.  Most officials say it is about time that the nation has a reliable communications network for the first responders is long overdue. 


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