Obama on State of the (Communications) Union

WASHINGTON — President Obama did not spend much time on broadband in his State of the Union address last week, but he had already devoted a speech to it two weeks before, and the White House had already outlined his ambitious high-speed broadband plans, as well as actions to protect privacy and push cybersecurity.

The speech was mostly a valedictory vision of a better America through Democratic policies, or what CNN political reporter John King called “a left-of-center speech to a right-of-center Congress.”

But the speech included some communications- related issues, including network neutrality and at least a couple of mentions of high-speed broadband.

“I intend to protect a free and open Internet, extend its reach to every classroom and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks,” the president said, “so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world.”

Obama also talked about building infrastructure, including “the fastest Internet.”

On cybersecurity, he said: “No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids. We are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism. And tonight, I urge this Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft and protect our children’s information.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.