Broadband as important as water, power and sewers – White House

23 Sep 2015

The US is going big on broadband, with a White House report claiming it’s as integral as electricity, water and sewers now.

Written by the country’s Broadband Opportunity Council, the report highlights that 51m Americans cannot access internet connectivity of at least 25Mbps, claiming a change in approach is needed.

Indeed, US President Barack Obama has gone as far as saying that high-speed internet is not a luxury, but “a necessity”.

This is reminiscent of a 2010 decision in Finland to make broadband a legal right for every citizen. That year everyone in Finland had the right to access 1Mbps broadband, reaching 100Mbps this year.

US broadband a core utility

Highlighting the need for better internet to ensure economic growth in the country, Obama notes how the internet is changing the very fabric of society.

“High-speed broadband enables Americans to use the internet in new ways, expands access to health services and education, increases the productivity of businesses, and drives innovation throughout the digital ecosystem,” he said.

Moving away from being an optional extra to an integral part Americans’ everyday lives, the detailed write-up says broadband is now a core utility for households, “taking its place alongside water, sewerage and electricity as essential infrastructure for communities”.

Recommendations throughout the report include calling on all US-wide projects to include drives for greater broadband access. US$10bn in federal grants is on offer for projects to expand broadband access to all Americans.

Main image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic