Obama to Sign Executive Order Easing Broadband DeploymentBy: Sean Patterson - June 13, 2012
The White House has announced today that President Obama will sign an Executive Order tomorrow, requiring government agencies that manage Federal property to consolidate their methods for Leasing Federal land for broadband deployment. The White House states that this order will provide a streamlined, uniform approach the process of building out the country’s broadband infrastructure. The order also requires that Federal assets available for lease be displayed on department websites, along with the leasing requirements. In addition, leases will be required to be tracked via the Federal Infrastructure Projects Dashboard and departments will be directed to organize broadband deployment to coincide with planned construction work.
“Building a nationwide broadband network will strengthen our economy and put more Americans back to work,” said President Obama. “By connecting every corner of our country to the digital age, we can help our businesses become more competitive, our students become more informed and our citizens become more engaged.”
The White House also announced today the “US Ignite” initiative, which it hopes will promote development of broadband technologies for both public and commercial benefit. US Ignite will create a partnership between over 150, cities, corporations, non-profits, and research universities to develop ultra-high-speed, “programmable” broadband networks.
Some of the participants in US Ignite have already announced commitments to the initiative. For example, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is promising to spend $20 million to deploy the ultra-high-speed broadband networks. Also, the NSF, Department of Energy, and the Mozilla Foundation will hold a design competition for apps for these networks. The Department of Defense will deploy ultra-high-speed networks to its bases and academies such as West Point.