[wirelessweek] President Barack Obama pledged to expand access to mobile broadband services to nearly all U.S. residents during his State of the Union address Tuesday evening.
"Within the next five years, we'll make it possible for businesses to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to 98 percent of all Americans," he said. "This isn't about faster Internet or fewer dropped calls. It's about connecting every part of America to the digital age."
The President said access to high-speed wireless Internet services could help rural farmers and small business owners better sell their products; help first responders cope with emergency situations; and improve education and healthcare. The pledge was part of his larger initiative to invest in the nation's infrastructure.
In a statement, Sprint government affairs executive Vonya McCann said the company "commends President Obama for his leadership in promoting nationwide access to advanced wireless services and working to ensure that our nation's first responders get what they have long needed and deserved, wireless interoperable public safety broadband services."
Yesterday, the FCC moved to lay the groundwork for interoperability of national mobile broadband networks and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) reintroduced a bill that would pay to build and maintain a nationwide mobile broadband network for first responders.
Obama: Mobile Broadband for 98% of Americans