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Obama Promises High Speed Broadband ... FCC Says 'Stop Blocking It': [10th Feb 2011]

President Obama has set a goal of rolling out high speed broadband to 98% of the US within the next five years. The plan which will detail exactly how this will be achieved will be released later this week. He believes that it will allow rural communities to compete globally and will also reduce the deficit by $10 billion. It is thought that the plan will allocate $18 billion to wireless initiatives in total. $5 billion will go towards cellular towers and networks for remote areas. The money will come from the Universal Service Fund which was originally set up to ensure rural people had access to phone services. It will now be used for wireless services. $10 billion will also be used to provide a high speed network for emergency departments and $3 billion for funding research related to telecommunications. So far it is not certain that the administration will get he funding which is hoped to come from the sell off of spectrum. Broadcasters are being asked to voluntarily give up their spectrum, but may be forced into it of they do not do so. It is thought that $27 billion can be raised from this sell off over the next ten years. The left over money will go towards the deficit.


The FCC have commented this week that the government needs to remove some of the "roadblocks" which are in the way if they want broadband deployment to happen faster. They believe that local governments need create a fee structure for providers who want to bury cable. Unfortunately providers think twice before they expand into communities because different local governments have different fee structures. FCC Chairman Julius Genochowski has said that an internal taskforce will be set up to look into the issue. He has pointed out that the US is lagging behind other countries when it comes to the numbers of people with access to broadband services. It is thought that government buildings should offer wi-fi and have mobile base stations installed as a way of increasing broadband availability.


AT&T have released a new mobile calling plan this week which will allow unlimited free voice calls to any wireless network. The Unlimited Mobile to Any Mobile plan is only available to customers who purchase one of five qualifying mobile voice plans which have charges. These range from $39.99 to $109.99 each month. The plan is similar to that offered by Sprint but Sprint combines their unlimited texting and data plans together with unlimited calls for $70 a month. It has been pointed out by experts that providers are starting to realize that voice calls are becoming less popular in favor of texts and data.


Verizon launched the iPhone4 this week and in some cities the lines stretched outside the stores. However in other areas there was a more muted response. Apple and Verizon stores are selling the phone as well as Best Buy and Walmart. While demand did appear to be high for the phone, the cold weather gripping the country did seem to put people off. Verizon did allow pre-ordering on the phone which meant it would have been delivered and it is thought that many people may have taken this option.


Verizon have started testing their LTE network by making the first Voice over LTE commercial call. The call was made by employees at the New Jersey headquarters using a LG revolution smartphone. The company have said that staff were able to chat while downloading and using the web all at the same time. The VoLTE system is expected to be the next big advance in high end mobile communication. Customers who want to take advantage of the high speed network will need to have a handset which is enabled which are currently produced by Samsung, HTC and LG. The company has also recently launched LTE in 38 cities.

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