Government Technology

At Issue: US Ignite Draws Cheers and Jeers



June 18, 2012 By

Last week President Barack Obama announced two initiatives designed to assist deployment of broadband infrastructure.

A presidential executive order, called "Accelerating Broadband Infrastructure Deployment," is intended to simplify and streamline access to federal property and rights of way for wired and wireless broadband. The executive order creates a “Broadband Deployment on Federal Property Working Group,” to be chaired by the GSA and Department of Homeland Security, with members from 11 other federal agencies. The working group will report in one year on permitting and process improvements.

Another broadband initiative, a public-private partnership called US Ignite, was launched. According to the Obama administration it “will foster the creation of novel applications and digital experiences that will transform health care, education and job skills training, public safety, energy and advanced manufacturing.” These new applications will be designed to take advantage of ultra-fast, experimental networks.

But do thought leaders think the push will work? Like almost anything, opinion is varied.

Commenting on the US Ignite initiative, PC Magazine’s Sascha Segan, however, said it fails to address the problem of slow and expensive last-mile connectivity and instead focuses on backbone improvements between cities and universities.

Fresno, Calif., CIO Carolyn Hogg, who is co-chair of a federal “Strong Cities, Strong Communities” project in California’s Central Valley, is enthusiastic about the administrations’ broadband push. “This initiative is exactly what the San Joaquin Valley is looking for,” she said, “and is actively pursuing with our regional partners that will bring together multiple benefits in the forgotten rural area to transform our agriculture, telehealth and distance learning technology.”

[Watch the press conference announcing US Ignite and see what people are saying on social media about Obama’s newest broadband initiatives on GovTech’s Storify page.]

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), commenting on his website about the executive order, said in part: “This new Executive Order will ensure that agencies charged with managing federal properties and roads take specific steps to adopt a uniform approach for allowing broadband carriers to build networks on and through those assets to speed the delivery of connectivity to communities, businesses and schools.”

Congresswoman Anna Eschoo, (D-Calif.), in a release said that “The Executive Order includes a requirement for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to provide guidance to states and encourage their implementation of a "dig once" policy. Adoption of the policy by the DOT would encourage the inclusion of "broadband conduit"—plastic pipes that house fiber-optic communications cable—during the construction of federal highways. The Federal Highway Administration estimates it is 10 times more expensive to dig up and then repair an existing road to lay fiber, than to dig a channel for it when the road is being built or repaired.”

At Issue: Is Obama’s executive order and US Ignite a case of election year grandstanding, or is it a significant step forward for needed broadband infrastructure?


| More

Comments

Add Your Comment

You are solely responsible for the content of your comments. We reserve the right to remove comments that are considered profane, vulgar, obscene, factually inaccurate, off-topic, or considered a personal attack.

In Our Library

White Papers | Exclusives Reports | Webinar Archives | Best Practices and Case Studies
Maintain Your IT Budget with Consistent Compliance Practices
Between the demands of meeting federal IT compliance mandates, increasing cybersecurity threats, and ever-shrinking budgets, it’s not uncommon for routine maintenance tasks to slip among state and local government IT departments. If it’s been months, or even only days, since you have maintained your systems, your agency may not be prepared for a compliance audit—and that could have severe financial consequences. Regardless of your mission, consistent systems keep your data secure, your age
Best Practice Guide for Cloud and As-A-Service Procurements
While technology service options for government continue to evolve, procurement processes and policies have remained firmly rooted in practices that are no longer effective. This guide, built upon the collaborative work of state and local government and industry executives, outlines and explains the changes needed for more flexible and agile procurement processes.
Fresh Ideas In Online Security for Public Safety Organizations
Lesley Carhart, Senior Information Security Specialist at Motorola Solutions, knows that online and computer security are more challenging than ever. Personal smartphones, removable devices like USB storage drives, and social media have a significant impact on security. In “Fresh Ideas in Online Security for Public Safely Organizations,” Lesley provides recommendations to improve your online security against threats from social networks, removable devices, weak passwords and digital photos.
View All

Featured Papers