Increased subsidies for rural broadband are now being discussed in the same breath as President-elect Obama’s economic recovery plan. Broadcasting & Cable noted that universal Internet access was a “key part of the economic recovery plan (Obama) outlined” in a radio address Saturday. Obama said the nation needs to act “now” on broadband roll-out. “Here, in the country that invented the internet, every child should have the chance to get online, and they’ll get that chance when I’m President,” Obama said, “because that’s how we’ll strengthen America’s competitiveness in the world.”

Baseline broadband connection could be made part of an upcoming auction of airwaves that will be abandoned when broadcast television switches to high definition in February. The industry is certainly excited, and always includes increased rural access as part of the pitch for opening this spectrum for use. “The applications of this spectrum are nearly limitless,” Dell chief executive Michael Dell said. “There will be more expansive Internet access available in all communities, urban and rural, with laptop computers and other wireless devices.”

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