By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will preview new policies in his state of the union speech on Wednesday while in Iowa.
There, he will introduce plans to help “move the middle class forward” with affordable broadband Internet, according to a White House spokesperson.
Iowa, once called the dirtiest little city in the nation, was selected to highlight the possibilities of every town welcoming broadband internet into their businesses and home.
The president is aiming to use his executive power to accomplish this goal.
“There are some steps we can take through executive actions that allow us to make sure every community can do what Cedar Falls is doing,” Obama said.
That’s because the Cedar Rapids has internet speed nearly 100 times faster than the national average. And this high-speed internet is for an affordable price, according to a new report issued today by the National Economic Council and Council of Economic Advisers.
The need for broadband is an economic imperative, officials said. And Obama will stress the need for affordable high-speed broadband for all Americans, and how several small cities and towns setting up themselves to compete with world cities.
“This isn’t about streaming videos and movies,” said a White House official in a conference call. “It’s about strengthening the economy and attracting the next generation of start ups.”
He said this is to aid a “nationwide movement” to help Americans develop new skills and find paying jobs because most jobs require access to the internet.
High-speed, low-cost broadband, he said, is paving the way for economic revitalization not just in Cedar Falls, but in places like Chattanooga, TN, Kansas City, MO, and Lafayette, LA — all of which have Internet speeds nearly 100 times faster than the national average.
Nearly forty percent of American households either cannot purchase a fixed 10 Mbps connection or they must buy it from a single provider, the report states.
Also, 94 percent of Americans in urban areas can purchase a 25 Mbps (megabit per second) connection, but only 51 percent of the rural population has access to Internet at that speed.
Last November, the President outlined his plan to keep the Internet open to new competition and innovation by safeguarding net neutrality — which will help ensure no one company can act as a gatekeeper to digital content.
President Obama speaks on the need for affordable high-speed broadband for all Americans, and how certain small cities and towns are taking steps to lay a foundation for broadband access that rivals the most connected cites in the world.
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza