Hillary Clinton outlines tech priorities: what it means to broadband adoption and deployment

Earlier this week, Hillary Clinton unveiled her Initiative on Technology and Innovation [I took some liberties with formatting]…

Today, Hillary is announcing a Tech & Innovation Agenda with five key parts.

  • First, her plan will leverage technology to create good-paying jobs on Main Street—through new commitments in computer science and STEM education, support for entrepreneurial ecosystems, and other policies to build the human capital pipeline.
  • Second, her plan will deliver high-speed broadband to all Americans, hook up public places like airports and stations—and enable them to offer free WiFi—and lay the groundwork for the next generation of the mobile internet and the Internet of Things.
  • Third, her agenda will ensure America remains the global leader in technology, by promoting more high-tech exports and ensuring the free flow of data.
  • Fourth, her plan will establish rules of the road to support innovation—rules that foster healthy competition, reduce barriers to entry, and effectively protect intellectual property—while safeguarding privacy and security.
  • Fifth, her plan will make our government smarter, more efficient, and more responsive, using new technologies to deliver real results for the American people.

Her plan includes everything from greater funding for STEM, entrepreneurial startup funds, lead international joint tech governance and promote cyber security. For the purposes of this blog, I thought it would make sense to pull out the sections that very directly address broadband adoption and deployment. (Although I really like the idea of integrating technology into difference sectors and different sectors into the tech arena.)


Hillary believes that high-speed internet connectivity is not a luxury; it is a necessity for economic success and social mobility in a 21st century economy. Despite considerable progress and private investment in the last eight years to close the digital divide, there remains work to be done. Millions of American households, particularly in rural areas, still lack access to any fixed broadband provider,[15] around 30% of households across America have not adopted broadband (with much higher levels in low-income communities),[16] and American consumers pay more for high-speed plans than consumers in some other advanced nations.[17] For years, Hillary has fought to deliver connectivity to all Americans. As President, she will finish the job of connecting every household in America to high-speed broadband, increase internet adoption, and help hook up anchor institutions so they can offer free WiFi to the public. Hillary will also take action to help America widely deploy 5G technology—the next generation wireless service that will not only bring faster internet connections to underserved areas, but will enable the Internet of Things and a host of transformative technologies. Hillary will:

  • Close the Digital Divide: Hillary will finish the job of connecting America’s households to the internet, committing that by 2020, 100 percent of households in America will have the option of affordable broadband that delivers speeds sufficient to meet families’ needs.  She will deliver on this goal with continue investments in the Connect America Fund, Rural Utilities Service program, and Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), and by directing federal agencies to consider the full range of technologies as potential recipients—i.e., fiber, fixed wireless, and satellite—while focusing on areas that lack any fixed broadband networks currently. Hillary also backs the FCC’s decision to extend Lifeline support to broadband, and she will work to connect this policy with community-based programs that help citizens with enrollment, offer digital literacy training and expand access to low-cost devices.
  • Launch a “Model Digital Communities” Grant Program: By leveraging the $25 billion Infrastructure Bank she plans to establish, Hillary will create a new competitive grant program to give cities, regions, and states incentives to create a “model digital community.” The end goal is simple: encourage localities to undertake actions that foster greater access to high-speed internet for their residents at affordable prices–whether through fiber, wireless, satellite, or other technologies. Regions would come forward with proposals, and grants would be awarded based on impact assessment. Qualifying proposals might seek to:
  • Reduce regulatory barriers to the private provision of broadband services: Localities may seek to stimulate more investment by current or new service providers by streamlining permitting processes, allowing nondiscriminatory access to existing infrastructure such as conduits and poles, pursuing “climb once” policies to eliminate delays, or facilitating demand aggregation.
  • Coordinate the development of broadband infrastructure with other municipal services: Localities may seek to develop information and maps about existing infrastructure and pursue “dig once” policies, where the development of broadband infrastructure (i.e., dark fiber) is coordinated with the development and maintenance of other municipal infrastructure and joint trenching is enabled where appropriate.
  • Develop public-private partnerships for broadband: Hillary will explore ways that targeted uses of the Infrastructure Bank could favorably change the economics of private capital investment in existing or new broadband networks. This approach opens the door to upgrading networks, filling gaps in underserved areas, and new models of public-private partnerships, such as in Huntsville, Alabama and Westminster, Maryland.
  • Connect More Anchor Institutions to High-Speed Internet: To fully realize the benefits of the internet today, people need a “continuum of connectivity”—the ability to get online in their homes and offices, but also in schools, libraries, transit systems, and other public spaces. Over the last few years, the E-rate program, launched under President Bill Clinton and updated under President Obama, as well as the BTOP program, have brought ultra-speed, fiber-optic broadband to schools and libraries nationwide. Hillary will expand this concept to additional anchor institutions by investing new federal resources. This would enable recreation centers, public buildings like one-stop career centers, and transportation infrastructure such as train stations, airports, and mass transit systems, to access to high-speed internet and provide free WiFi to the public.
  • Deploy 5G Wireless and Next Generation Wireless Systems: America’s world-leading rollout of 4G wireless networks in the first half of this decade has been a success story for policy-makers, industry, and American consumers. The Obama Administration played a key role by repurposing spectrum and auctioning licenses, as well as by making new spectrum available for unlicensed technologies. Hillary will accelerate this progress and help foster the evolution to 5G, small cell solutions, and other next-generation systems that can deliver faster wireless connections. Widely deployed 5G networks, and new unlicensed and shared spectrum technologies, are essential platforms that will support the Internet of Things, smart factories, driverless cars, and much more—developments with enormous potential to create jobs and improve people’s lives. Hillary will:
  • Reallocate and Repurpose Spectrum for Next Generation Uses: Hillary will enhance the efficient use of spectrum by accelerating the process of identifying underutilized bands, including ones now used by the federal government, that can become more valuable under revised regulatory regimes. She will focus on the full range of spectrum use policies—including new allocations for licensed mobile broadband, as well as unlicensed and shared spectrum approaches. She believes that creative uses of shared/non-exclusive uses of spectrum could unleash a new wave of innovation in wireless broadband technologies and the Internet of Things, much as WiFi did in the first generation of digital services.
  • Foster a Civic Internet of Things through Public Investments: Hillary will dedicate federal research funding to test-bedding, field trials, and other public-private endeavors to speed the deployment of next generation wireless networks and a civic Internet of Things. Governments around the world are already investing billions of dollars in developing and commercializing 5G technologies, and Hillary wants American companies to lead the world in wireless innovation. Her investments will aim at using advanced wireless and data innovation to drive social priorities in a range of areas, such as public safety, health care, environmental management, traffic congestion, and social welfare services.


This entry was posted in Elections, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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