The Mobile State of the Union

10:00 AM -- Easier wireless access to the Internet loomed large in President Obama's State of the Union address last night.

The key statement as it relates to the mobile industry was this promise from Obama: "Within the next five years, we will make it possible for businesses to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to 98 percent of all Americans."

As the Detroit Free Press notes, this was by no means the only mention of wireless in the speech. From "digital textbooks" in the classroom to a firefighter downloading crucial information to a "handheld device," increased mobility was foregrounded as vital to the future.

The statement about enabling "high-speed wireless" for virtually all Americans within five years might just relate to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 's plan to open up 300MHz of bandwidth by 2015, although the emphasis on access in rural areas too suggests there might be more to it. (See FCC Proposes 300MHz More Spectrum by 2015.)

The Recovery Act spending, you'll recall, was somewhat of a disappointment for wireless advocates, with many wired projects being given the nod instead. (See Recovery Act Finale and Rural Wireless Carriers Ready for a Fight.)

Any more spending on wireless broadband deployments is unlikely to be couched as stimulus spending, since those are such dirty words these days. Nonetheless, could there be other ways to encourage operators to deploy 4G more widely in the upcoming budget? It's worth keeping an eye on.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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