Obama Touts $18 Billion Internet Expansion Plan

Paul Lilly

U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday made the trip to snow-covered Northern Michigan University to unveil a wireless Internet expansion plan intended to create more economic opportunities, The Washington Post reports. Obama's plan calls for $18 billion in federal funds to expand high-speed wireless Internet access to 98 percent of Americans over the next five years.

"To attract the best jobs and newest industries, we've got to out-innovate, out-educate, out-build, and out-hustle the rest of the world," Obama said in his speech.

The plan would use $10.7 billion to fund a new public-safety network so emergency services can communicate on a single system and still send videos and emails during disasters. Another $5 billion is being earmarked to expand wireless broadband in rural areas, and $3 billion would go towards government research in emerging wireless technologies.

In addition to all this, the government will try and raise about $27.8 billion by auctioning airwaves currently held by television broadcasters and government agencies.

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