Thursday, February 10, 2011

WCAI Applauds President Obama’s National Wireless Initiative

U.S. President Barack Obama Thursday outlined his plan for expanding high-speed wireless Internet service to 98% of Americans as part of the Administration’s National Wireless Initiative. The speech came after President Obama viewed a demonstration of a WiMAX system operated by Northern Michigan University in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on EBS spectrum.

“WCAI applauds the Obama Administration’s commitment to bring wireless broadband service to all Americans, including in rural areas, and to promote investment in America’s broadband infrastructure,” WCAI President and CEO Fred Campbell said in a statement. “As the only broadband platform that is capable of providing access everywhere, all the time, and at affordable prices, wireless broadband is essential to improving education, creating new jobs and growing the American economy. We look forward to working with President Obama, the FCC and Congress to implement this initiative.”

The key elements of the administration’s plan are:

  • Freeing up 500 MHz of spectrum, including the use of “voluntary incentive auctions” and more efficient use of government spectrum, estimated to raise $27.8 billion over the next decade.
  • Provide at least 98% of Americans with access to 4G high-speed wireless via a one-time investment of $5 billion and reform of the Universal Service Fund.
  • Catalyze innovation by devoting $3 billion of the spectrum proceeds to a Wireless Investment (WIN) fund supporting research and development of emerging wireless technologies and applications.
  • A $10.7 billion commitment to support the development and deployment of a nationwide wireless broadband network to afford public safety agencies with far greater levels of effectiveness and interoperability. An important element of this plan is the reallocation of the D Block for public safety and $500 million within the WIN Fund.
  • $9.6 Billion of spectrum auction revenue will be devoted to deficit reduction.
Further information may become available when the Administration releases its budget proposal next week.

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