White House wireless plan boosts rural coverage

President Obama will unveil the administration's plan to boost funding for expanding next-generation wireless service in rural areas during a speech in Marquette, Mich., on Thursday, according to administration officials.

Deputy director of the National Economic Council Jason Furman and federal Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra told reporters the White House plans to raise as much as $28 billion from auctioning off spectrum voluntarily surrendered by broadcasters and reinvesting a significant chunk into high-speed wireless access.

Furman said in addition to expanding 4G wireless coverage, the national wireless initiative will also result in the creation of a national, interoperable public safety network as well as reduce the budget deficit almost $10 billion by raising spectrum revenue.

Chopra said $3 billion of the money would be used to fund innovations in wireless technologies and applications. He said small businesses with high-speed access have shown the ability to export their goods across the country and globe, creating jobs in economically depressed areas like Northern Michigan.

Furman also outlined $5 million in one-time funding for the Federal Communications Commission's Universal Service Fund, which the Commission independently voted to overhaul by shifting the focus to broadband coverage at Tuesday's open meeting.

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