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Tech Takes the Stage at State of the Union

Did anyone else notice that tech policy played a prominent role in last night’s State of the Union Address?  While the overall theme was investment and innovation many policy proposals long advocated by the tech policy crowd made their way into last night’s speech. Access to high-speed broadband—mobile in particular, was the issue that pricked up my ears as being most relevant for the real estate industry.

Beyond the substance of the speech, technology and more specifically, social media was all over the presentation and delivery. Viewers watching on C-SPAN 2 could see tweets from members of Congress scroll by as the President delivered his address. Those viewing the speech online on the White House website were treated to a PowerPoint presentation along with the speech.  And of course all of you on twitter following #sotu were guests at a digital party complete with Lani’s sartorial review of last night’s events.  For the techie crowd it’s a new dawn, a new day and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

But…now back to the policy. Last night President Obama called on policymakers to expand wireless access to 98 percent of Americans within the next five years.  It is a stretch goal to be sure, but one that is well worth undertaking.  As the President said “This isn’t just about a faster Internet and fewer dropped calls. It’s about a firefighter who can download the design of burning building onto a handheld device; a student who can take classes with a digital textbook; or a patient who can have face-to-face video chats with her doctor.” To add the real estate context, it’s about REALTORs giving consumer what they want, fast anytime access and the ability to transact at anytime from anywhere.

Congress is also getting in on the wireless broadband act. Yesterday, Senator Jay Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee introduced a bill that would among other things, free up more airwaves for wireless communications.

It remains to be seen what will actually pan out but, I for one am encouraged by the increased focus on technology and innovation.  What did you think of the President’s address?  Did you follow online or with social media?  I’m curious to hear about your experience.

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Photo Credit: Medill DC on Flickr via CC license

Written By

Melanie is the Senior Technology Policy Representative at the National Association of Realtors. That means she lobbies Congress and Federal Agencies on technology policy issues of importance to the real estate industry. In her pre-NAR life Melanie has been a practicing attorney and a software start-up executive. Like any native Californian, Melanie loves good wine and bountiful farmers markets.



  1. Angela

    January 26, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    It is amazing how technology is spreading like wildfire. My head is spinning with what it means for our business. Thanks for the information, I did not watch the address last night.

  2. Melanie Wyne

    January 26, 2011 at 1:41 pm


    You are so right…technology is no longer a separate silo to be left to the programmers and other geeks. It is woven throughout businesses large and small at every level. That is why it is more important than ever to pay attention…those that do will survive the rapid changes to the market place.

  3. Diana Hoyt

    January 27, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Mobile technology is here to stay and it needs to be able to grow without obstacles. I live in a fairly rural part of the country and a lot of old timers are not ready or willing to embrace such a fast moving technology, making it difficult for those of us who do utilize the ever changing technologies.

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