Despite the controversies that surround continued public support for the NPR/CPB there is much talk in Washington nowadays about creating a public funded, yet potentially politically controlled national Internet wireless network. The network will be funded from allocating some of the proceeds from auctioning new swaths of the spectrum for commercial Internet services.
While the United States has one of the most advanced and competitive wireless industries in the world, the Obama Administration wants to create a public corporation similar to institutions like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to manage and operate the wireless network. Some inside the White House, according to sources, also support having the government-owned and managed wireless network competing in the marketplace against companies like AT&T and Verizon.
“Some people want the network to only be used by public safety and first responders,” says a White House source with knowledge of the thinking of several senior Obama Administration officials involved in the discussions. “But we’re talking about a network that could also be used for commercial purposes, especially in parts of the country where people don’t have broadband services. So these folks could do things like access the Internet, stream movies, and do the kinds of things most other Americans pay AT&T and Verizon to do, but you’d expect that as the government, we’d be able to offer those services at considerably cheaper prices.”
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