White House Looks to Ignite Broadband Innovation, Deployment
Broadband for America members Comcast and Verizon are combining forces with The White House and nearly 100 other government, industry and nonprofit organizations to launch a new initiative called US Ignite. The program will bring together corporate and nonprofit entities in 25 cities to "create a national network of communities and campuses with ultra-fast, programmable broadband services, operating at speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second.” The National Science Foundation will lead the initiative, which expands the four-year, $40 million Global Environment for Networking Innovations project that currently links more than a dozen universities. Comcast "will work with participant universities and the vendor community to jointly develop and test next-generation applications in Comcast's lab in partnership with US Ignite," said the White house. In a separate move, President Barack Obama signed an executive order on June 13 that adopts a "dig once" policy when deploying broadband infrastructure "to make broadband construction along federal roadways and properties up to 90 percent cheaper and more efficient." Both moves are designed to lower broadband development costs, accelerate development of applications that take advantage of the network’s blazing speeds and drive its deployment.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) praised the announcement, saying in a statement, “Broadband deployment is key to growing our nation's economy, creating jobs, and expanding the overall well-being of our citizens," said Waxman. "Efficient use of federal lands and facilities along with prudent planning of new infrastructure projects will promote the expansion of broadband with significant cost savings to the American taxpayer. In particular, the Executive Order's ‘dig once' provision draws from a recommendation in the National Broadband Plan and legislation introduced by Congresswoman [Anna] Eshoo (D-Calif.) that I co-sponsored, and I am pleased to support it. This is a win for the American people, and I commend the Administration for moving forward on these issues."
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