White House says broadband is a basic necessity

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The White House, the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial are seen across Lafayette Park from atop the roof of the historic Hay Adams hotel in Washington, May 4, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
The White House, the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial are seen across Lafayette Park from atop the roof of the historic Hay Adams hotel in Washington, May 4, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

The Broadband Opportunity Council says broadband has shifted from being a mere option to a basic need like water and electricity, according to a report by the Broadband Opportunity Council.

The report released by the White House yesterday said 51 million Americans don’t have the financial capability to access broadband connections with download speeds of at least 25 Mbps. The number of unconnected Americans comes to one sixth of the total population of the U.S. The council was created by President Barack Obama and is managed by heads of the Commerce and Agriculture departments.

A blog post from the White House said although the federal government has managed to double its efforts in providing high-speed wireless coverage to 98% of Americans, the goal remains unmet. An analysis conducted by the Council of Economic Advisers said nearly 75 million U.S. citizens don’t have access to high-speed internet connections at home.

Experts said the government must encourage more investment in internet infrastructure and promote more competition to bring about faster and better internet service to more Americans. Only 63% of Americans have access to internet speeds of 100 Mbps and beyond.

Four recommendations were made by the Council. These are the promotion of increased broadband deployment; more competition through expanded access; opening-up critical data resources in the private sector, state and Tribal governments, foundations and community organizations and helping communities become more broadband-ready to attract more investors.

The investigators also listed 36 actions to improve accessibility. The White House is expected to take steps to accomplish these recommendations over the next 18 months. It’s also expected to invest $10 billion to modernize federal programs to community facilities.  

To ensure the implementation of the action plan within the target time frame, federal agencies will have to regularly report its progress to the investigative committee.

Affordable High-Speed Broadband for All Americans (Credit: YouTube/The White House)

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