Seeking the high-tech community's support, Hillary Clinton has come out with an activist federal technology policy that focuses on 5G, diversity, broadband and much more. The wide-ranging document from the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is in sharp contrast to the so-far limited pronouncements made on tech-related issues by her presumptive Republican opponent, Donald Trump.
Clinton -- who was the first lady when her husband, former President Bill Clinton, signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, setting the policy that has helped shape the modern media and communications landscape in the US -- issued a technology policy summary document that touches on a number of key current and future comms issues.
One main plank of the document calls for:
- Connecting every household in America to high-speed internet by 2020, while hooking up more public places like airports and train stations to the web and enabling them to offer free WiFi to the public, and helping America deploy 5G and other next-generation systems that can offer faster wireless speeds and help unleash the Internet of Things.
The 5G candidate? In fact, the document stresses more than once that Clinton will help "foster the evolution to 5G." This might turn out to be more than just an idle campaign platitude.
The government officials appointed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by the next president in 2017 will be the ones who actually oversee the transition of next-gen 5G mobile technology from test beds and trials today to the commercial networks expected to arrive in 2020.
For instance, the FCC is currently moving with uncharacteristic haste to open up the first high-frequency spectrum bands for 5G. Current Chairman Tom Wheeler has said this is crucial to maintain the US "lead" in wireless. (See FCC to Vote on 5G Spectrum on July 14.)
The Commission, however, has already said that it will need to identify more spectrum for capacity-hungry 5G networks in the future. That work is due to start this month, but would likely be inherited by the next FCC. (See FCC Comm. Names 4 Initial 5G Bands for US, Eyes More.)
Diversity Not surprisingly, Clinton, the first female candidate ever selected by either major party to run for president, also stresses diversity as part of her tech platform. "We must break down the barriers to full and equal participation by all groups in the 21st century economy," her policy document says. (See WiCipedia: Woman Cards & Bitch Switches .)
Clinton vs. Trump on Tech It is hard to present many substantive comms and tech policy differences between Clinton and trump, the Republican hopeful, yet. That's simply because Trump, the property developer and reality TV star, has not yet said much on the matter. There is no equivalent policy document that's been issued by the Trump camp, for instance.
Still, the two candidates are diametrically opposed on Net Neutrality. Clinton says she backs the open Internet rules established by the FCC, and her voting record as a US senator from New York backs this up. (See FCC Wins Key Net Neutrality Ruling.)
In contrast, Trump, via Twitter, his preferred platform, described Net Neutrality as a "top down power grab" in 2014.
Obama’s attack on the internet is another top down power grab. Net neutrality is the Fairness Doctrine. Will target conservative media.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2014
While Clinton's policy paper suggests she will push for an open and free Internet at home and aboard, Trump has said that he will "see Bill Gates" to "close up" the Internet in an attempt to counter the radicalizing influence of ISIS on Twitter and the web.
Trump is also making higher wages for workers on H-1B visas an issue in his campaign platform, but not necessarily because he cares about their economic condition. "Raising the prevailing wage paid to H-1Bs will force companies to give these coveted entry-level jobs to the existing domestic pool of unemployed native and immigrant workers in the US, instead of flying in cheaper workers from overseas," the Trump Campaign website states.
Clinton's tech policy document, meanwhile, says the candidate will aim to "attract and retain" top overseas talent. "Hillary would 'staple' a green card to STEM masters and PhDs from accredited institutions, and support visas that allow top entrepreneurs from abroad to come to the U.S., build companies, and create jobs for American workers," the paper says.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading