George Bush: Universal Broadband by 2007

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.

MSN on the announcement

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?