President Obama travelled to Michigan today to announce a major new wireless initiative with the goal to bring 4G wireless internet access to 98 percent of the country within five years, build a national public safety broadband network and promote wireless innovation through increased research and development.
While all of these goals are laudable, for the real estate industry, the meat of today’s announcement is in the boost to 4G wireless availability and the freeing up of airwaves known as spectrum for use by wireless internet devices.
4G wireless technology promises broadband speeds that are more than 10 times faster than current high speed wireless technology. While the 4G rollout currently underway by carriers like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile are underway, many rural areas are not enjoying the same benefits as those in urban areas.
The President’s plan will support a one- time investment of $5 billion to build out 4G networks in rural areas. The plan also promotes changes to the Universal Service Fund, a decades old program originally used to promote wireline phone service in rural areas. Reforms to the fund will shift future expenditures to broadband services.
Another interesting component of this plan is a proposal to spend $3 billion in a “Wireless Innovation Fund” which will support research, testing and development in wireless technologies with the aim to build the next generation of wireless technologies.
Agent Genius readers well understand the importance of broadband and wireless to efficiently running their real estate businesses. I often hear REALTORs stories of poor broadband access in rural areas. What are your thoughts about this new initiative? Worthy investment or needless government spending?