Although George Bush didn’t say how it would be achieved, he announced in an address he was giving in Mexico that all Americans should have broadband internet access by 2007, as it is essential for the country’s economic growth. This new call for universal coverage echoes similar announcements made in other countries giving deadlines for complete broadband access.
Many have drawn a parallel between this announcement and Al Gore’s “information superhighway” calls in 2000. America has its work cut out for it: there are currently 20.6 million homes with broadband access, out of a total of 101 million. Many remote rural areas will be difficult to bring broadband access to, and so the solution will have to take many forms: cable, satellite, DSL and wireless.
It’s not clear who will pay for it either: the Universal Service Fund subsidizes telephone access to rural areas and for those who can’t afford it, but it is yet to be decided whether or not the fund should cover internet access for citizens.