Barack Obama's Technology Policy Position Paper: Part 3 of 5
In November, U.S. Democratic Party Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama released his 2008 technology policy position paper. The paper is entitled: Barack Obama: Connecting and Empowering All Americans Through Technology and Innovation.
I reviewed this paper for the non-partisan politics-information site PoliticalBase.
Here's Part 3 of my 5-part analysis:
Now we turn to Section III of Sen. Barack Obama's 2008 technology policy position paper. The paper is entitled: Barack Obama: Connecting and Empowering All Americans Through Technology and Innovation.
Section III calls for the deployment of a "Modern Communications Infrastructure."
The overarching goals here seem to be to speed up what is being referred to today as "broadband Internet access;" to make broadband more available in public spaces, and provide more availability for wireless spectrum.
The paper's sections on the redefinition of broadband, the increased availability of broadband Internet access, and the unleashing of wireless spectrum are self-defining in a way few other sections of Obama's technology missive are.
Let's look at these three topics Sen. Obama addresses in this section.
Obama calls for us as a nation to:
Redefine "broadband:" The Federal Communications Commission today defines "broadband" as an astonishingly low 200 kbps. This distorts federal policy and hamstrings efforts to broaden broadband access. Obama will define "broadband" for purposes of national policy at speeds demanded by 21st century business and communications.
Yes, I can tell you 200 kbps is at a snail's space. 1 mg at least, both up and down. Fortunately, most cable-based broadband Internet service providers already provide services at or above these speeds. It will be interesting to see how comprehensively Verizon FiOS' super-fast network will be emulated by other telco based Internet access providers now offering slow DSL in the 600-700 kbps range.
Unleash the Wireless Spectrum: Obama will confront the entrenched Washington interests that have kept our public airwaves from being maximized for the public's interest. Obama will demand a review of existing uses of our wireless spectrum. He will create incentives for smarter, more efficient and more imaginative use of government spectrum and new standards for commercial spectrum to bring affordable broadband to rural communities that previously lacked it. He will ensure that we have enough spectrum for police, ambulances and other public safety purposes.
This is both a policy and engineering problem. Telcos feel they have spent all this money to build current networks. Thus, the urge is to protect their investments at all costs. Telcos and wireless access providers will have to be convinced there is a better way, and then redirect their powerful D.C. lobbyists toward this new way of thinking.
Bringing Broadband to our Schools, Libraries, Households and Hospitals: Obama will recommit America to ensuring that our schools, libraries, households and hospitals have access to next generation broadband networks. He will also make sure that there are adequate training and other supplementary resources to allow every school, library and hospital to take full advantage of the broadband connectivity.
Yes, but will there be adequate money available- not only from the Federal sector but from cash-strapped regional and local jurisdictions? I'm especially concerned about libraries fiscal werewithal. I mean, I live in a state where a leading county (Jackson County, Oregon) with a culturally hip city (Ashland, where they do the Shakespeare Festival), had to close their public libraries because county voters would not approve library funds for the current fiscal year budget.
Next, we'll look at Section 4 of Sen. Obama's white paper, in which he furnishes his views on how to "Employ Technology and Innovation to Solve Our Nation's Most Pressing Problems."
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