Connecting America

Today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the National Broadband Plan, called for in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to identify ways to expand access to broadband and promote economic growth and job creation.

In his statement on the plan’s release, President Obama committed to “build upon our efforts over the past year to make America's nationwide broadband infrastructure the world’s most powerful platform for economic growth and prosperity.” To that end, I’ve established a Broadband Subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Technology, co-chaired by Larry Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information at the Department of Commerce, and Scott Blake Harris, General Counsel at the Department of Energy. This interagency group will focus closely on the plan by the FCC—an independent agency—and advise the Administration on actions it can take to promote broadband as a platform to improve the lives of everyday Americans and drive innovation in the economy.

The Obama Administration is committed to continuing to build upon the nearly $2 billion already committed by the Commerce and Agriculture Departments to deliver broadband to unserved and underserved communities, stimulate job creation, and foster long-term economic growth. It has also undertaken initiatives to bring the efficiencies and innovations of broadband to many sectors of the economy. These initiatives include the Department of Health and Human Services’ commitment to facilitating the movement of healthcare information safely and securely from where it is collected to where it is needed in order to reduce costs and improve patient care; the Department of Energy’s investment of more than $11 billion in Recovery Act funds to use Internet-like technologies to modernize our electricity transmission system with an interactive “Smart Grid”; the Department of Homeland Security’s work to integrate broadband and next-generation technologies into the National Emergency Communications Plan, which will extend the developing advanced-information technology ecosystem to include emergency response; and the collaboration across all Departments and agencies throughout the Administration to ensure that new broadband platforms and the services that travel over them are secure.

The Administration will continue to engage the public on this issue, as Secretary Arne Duncan did last week when he called for public input on the draft National Education Technology Plan, which articulates a bold vision of a world-class education environment powered by technology that relies on broadband access both in and out of school. The Administration also continues to implement its Open Government Directive, which is seeking public input on how each Federal agency should achieve greater transparency, participation, and collaboration, in part by taking fuller advantage of the capabilities of broadband.

Thank you, Chairman Genachowski, the Commissioners, Executive Director Blair Levin, and the FCC staff for your tireless work and your dedication to the broadband future of the country.

Aneesh Chopra is U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Associate Director for Technology in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

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