US President Obama’s top science and technology advisor, John Holdren, has claimed a national broadband plan is an important development. But he added that significant private investment was needed to get it done.
“I am convinced [broadband] would be of benefit in many different ways,” he said. “There would be an improvement in the productivity of the science and engineering enterprises but I can’t say by how much and I don’t know if anybody can.”
Holdren also said national broadband would boost the populations and productivity levels of rural and regional areas, but said he was unable to provide quantitative estimates as it wasn’t his field of expertise.
“I would guess it is [worth billions of dollars] because the leverage is very substantial,” he claimed.
But the White House advisor also said the best solution in this economic climate was to pursue a national broadband plan without Governments spending large amounts of money.
“This is an area like many others where we have to have some sort of public/private cooperation and partnership,” he said. “But clearly the private sector must do a lot of it, it has to.”
The National Broadband Plan in America, like the Australian Government’s National Broadband Network, plans to offer speeds of up to 100Mbps using fibre optic networks. Its stated goal is to reach 100 million homes with these speeds by 2020.
Similarly to Australia, debates have arisen over how much funding should be provided to rural and regional areas as well as delivery methods.