Broadband in the military

We all know the benefits of broadband: facilitating health care delivery, distance learning, job searches, smart-grid technology, to name a few.

What we haven't heard much about is the power of broadband has war zones. Interestingly, the military is using Internet connections abroad in many of the same ways we do at home. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski touched on that point today in a speech he gave at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ark., with Sen. Mark Pryor and Sen. Blanche Lincoln, both Democrats.

Genachowski said he recently visited troops in the Middle East. Soldiers are using broadband to finish college degrees or take distance learning courses.

Currently, soldiers have to carry hard copies of their medical records with them so accurate information is available to military personnel if needed. The military is working on ways to harness electronic medical records that can be accessed securely online.

"The final issue is morale and family connectivity," Genachowski said. "The Internet now provides a low-cost way for troops overseas to stay in touch--in real time--by video, with their spouses and kids. I was told that nothing is improving the morale of our troops more than broadband and access to its benefit."