Obama Seeks To Speed Broadband Infrastructure Deployment

White House announces federal working group, public-private partnership to boost development and usefulness of high-speed broadband networks.

Patience Wait, Contributor

June 14, 2012

3 Min Read

Top 14 Government Social Media Initiatives

Top 14 Government Social Media Initiatives

Top 14 Government Social Media Initiatives (click image for larger view and for slideshow)

President Obama signed an executive order Thursday directing the creation of a federal working group to address broadband deployment access issues for government lands, buildings, and rights-of-way.

The Broadband Deployment on Federal Property working group will include representatives from six cabinet-level agencies (the departments of Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs), U.S. Postal Service, Federal Communications Commission, Council on Environmental Quality, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and the National Security Staff.

The working group's task is to create a consistent, streamlined approach to policy and permitting requirements for deployment of broadband facilities on federally owned lands, buildings, rights-of-way, tribal lands, and highways that receive federal assistance. The intent is to give carriers a single approach to leasing federal assets for broadband deployment. The government controls nearly 30% of the land in the United States, thousands of miles of roads, and more than 10,000 buildings.

[ We know the feds are spending $79.5 billion on IT in 2012, but what are we getting in return? See What's The ROI On Federal IT Spending? ]

In conjunction with the release of the executive order, the White House announced a new public-private partnership, U.S. Ignite, among industry, cities, and national research institutions, dedicated to accelerating development of a wide range of ultra-fast broadband and software-defined network applications for industries as diverse as advanced manufacturing, healthcare, energy, and education.

With U.S. Ignite, the White House announced a number of initiatives undertaken by participants, including:

-- The National Science Foundation is expanding its initial $40 million investment in the Global Environment for Networking Innovations (GENI) project, investing a further $20 million "to transition from building GENI to using it for Internet-scale experiments.

-- Six project grantees of the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration are joining the U.S. Ignite initiative.

-- The Defense Research and Engineering Network (DREN) will serve as a test bed to accelerate development and deployment of ultra-high-speed bandwidth applications. DREN is the networking part of the Defense Department's High Performance Computing Modernization Program; as part of this initiative, it will connect research sites at the U.S. Military Academy, Naval Postgraduate School, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, Naval Research Laboratory, Air Force Research Laboratory, and Army Research Laboratory, and participate in an agreement between the Maui High-Performance Computing Center and the University of Hawaii.

-- Corporate partners announced at the unveiling of U.S. Ignite include Juniper Networks, NEC, Cisco, Verizon, Comcast, HP, AT&T, Ciena, and Big Switch Networks.

The Office of Management and Budget demands that federal agencies tap into a more efficient IT delivery model. The new Shared Services Mandate issue of InformationWeek Government explains how they're doing it. Also in this issue: Uncle Sam should develop an IT savings dashboard that shows the returns on its multibillion-dollar IT investment. (Free registration required.)

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Patience Wait


Washington-based Patience Wait contributes articles about government IT to InformationWeek.

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