President Obama: ‘If we don’t get these young people the access to what they need to achieve their potential, then it’s our loss; it’s not just their loss’

President Barak Obama joined the growing chorus of lawmakers who want it to be easier and cheaper for all Americans to have access to high-speed broadband Internet.

As part of his trip to Durant, Okla., Obama announced the ConnectHome initiative, a public-private partnership that, according to the White House, will “expand high-speed broadband to more families across the country.”

According to a White House press statement, “The pilot program is launching in 27 cities and one tribal nation, and will initially reach over 275,000 low-income households – and nearly 200,000 children – with the support they need to access the Internet at home.”

ConnectHome is being touted by the White House as part of the president’s larger early education initiative, giving underprivileged school children access to the Internet at home in order to help them keep up in the modern world, which is increasingly reliant on technology.

“If we don’t get these young people the access to what they need to achieve their potential, then it’s our loss; it’s not just their loss,” Obama said during an address at Durant High School. “They’ve got big dreams. … We’ve got to have an interest in making sure they can achieve those dreams.”

ConnectHome comes at a time when several lawmakers and policy officials are reviewing federal programs to encourage more affordable broadband, or else trying to increase private investment in broadband infrastructure.

The Federal Communications Commission, backed by proposed legislation from Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), have been examining updating the 1980’s Lifeline program as a means to provide affordable broadband to low income families.

As Booker noted in a statement, “In a world that is more and more interconnected, Internet access has become a necessity for social and economic well-being. We must work to ensure everyone has a chance to access the opportunities this technology provides.”

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, scheduled hearings on how to better promote private investment into the development of broadband infrastructure.

“With new services and innovative technologies constantly redefining America’s Internet needs, the old rules for network investment no longer apply,” Walden noted. “We will explore current trends in broadband infrastructure buildout and look at ways to improve that environment for continued investment and growth.”

Federal lawmakers are not alone in their desire to expand Internet access. Wireless industry trade association CTIA is an enthusiastic supporter of doing everything possible to make broadband more accessible to all Americans.

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Via RCR Wireless