Obama pitches $18 billion wireless broadband plan


Cecilia Kang
The Washington Post
February 10, 2011

In this remote snow-swept college town rejuvenated in parts by Internet commerce, President Obama on Thursday outlined a plan to create similar economic stories through the expansion of super-fast wireless Internet connections.

Speaking at Northern Michigan University, Obama unveiled an ambitious blueprint to use $18 billion in federal funds to get 98 percent of the nation connected to the Internet on smartphones and tablet computers in five years.

To get there, the federal government will try to bring more radiowaves into the hands of wireless carriers to bolster the nation’s networks and prevent a jam of Internet traffic. He said he hoped to auction airwaves currently in the hands of television stations and government agencies to raise about $27.8 billion.

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