A fast, reliable
Internet connection is as essential to the modern economy as electricity
or phone service, and over the last four years, the country has made
tremendous progress investing in and delivering high-speed broadband to
an unprecedented number of Americans. Today we are releasing a new White
House report entitled Four Years of Broadband Growth that makes that
case even clearer.
The results speak for themselves: since 2009, average broadband speeds
have doubled, and the percentage of Americans with access to high-speed
wireless broadband has more than quadrupled (from under 20% to over
80%). We were the first nation to deploy next-generation 4G/LTE wireless
broadband on such a scale, which has in turn helped fuel the demand for
the 500 million Internet-connected devices we now own.
This technology is doing more than just enriching lives; it is creating
jobs. With the right incentives in place over the last four years,
companies have invested over $250 billion in broadband infrastructure.
The “App economy” that has sprung up in that same time is estimated to
have created 500,000 jobs alone. And America is again leading the world
in these innovations; six years ago, only 5 percent of the world’s
phones ran an operating system that was Made in America – today, over
eighty percent do.
But there is much more to be done to make sure we fully unleash the
potential of this revolution in the way we communicate, learn, and work.
As the President said last week in Mooresville, NC, “in an age when the
world’s information is a just click away, it demands that we bring our
schools and libraries into the 21st century.” We have an obligation to
wire our schools with better Internet than our coffee houses; our kids,
and our economy, deserve better. That is why President Obama unveiled
the ConnectED initiative to connect 99 percent of America’s students to
high-speed broadband within five years.
also have to bring more efficiency to our increasingly crowded airwaves.
The number of wireless devices is exploding, and that means increasing
demands on the spectrum upon which they all rely. The federal government
helps manage that resource, and we know we can do a better job of
unleashing innovation by ensuring more of it is shared, unlicensed for
innovations like Wi-Fi, and better used by our departments and agencies.
So today we are also announcing a Presidential Memorandum outlining a
number of new spectrum policies — accompanied by $100 million in
spending on federal research on spectrum.
President Obama is committed to seizing these historic opportunities to
deliver faster, more reliable, and more affordable Internet – and with
it, new opportunity – to all Americans. That is the context for our
announcements this month, and in the months and years to come.