President Obama glad-handed some network engineers in Cedar Falls, Iowa today. No, it was not a campaign stop. (He’s done running for president.) The commander-in-chief’s visit to the local utility office of Iowa’s first gigabit city is a mission statement: America needs more internet service providers that aren’t called Comcast.
Oh, thank God. This mission is both valiant and practical. One in three Americans have no choice when it comes to picking an internet service provider. Meanwhile, the vast majority of American internet users are saddled with slow speeds, crippling data caps, absurdly awful customer service, and other related bullshit. Thank God the president is finally using his presidential powers to do something about it.
It’s about damn time
This community-based broadband plan isn’t a new initiative by any means—at least not for some local governments and startup ISPs around the country. It’s also not the beginning of a government-run internet—despite what some dumb misleading headlines might say. It is something that would benefit millions.
The mission to create more competition between broadband providers and better internet at a lower price to the end user has been underway for years. It just got a really, really nice boost from the White House, a boost that President Obama will talk more about at the State of the Union on January 20. The White House has already released a 37-page long report on Community-Based Broadband Solutions that explains why the initiative is so important now. (Executive summary: America’s internet is too slow, too expensive, too unreliable, and too inaccessible in rural areas.)