WASHINGTON, January 26, 2011 – President Obama delivered his annual State of the Union address Tuesday night, noting several times the importance of advancing America’s Internet technology, both for the sake of improving the economy and to secure America’s place as the world leader of digital innovation.
In his speech, Obama promised to invest in information technology, crediting its ability to create new jobs and strengthen security. He also pledged to ensure high-speed wireless coverage to 98 percent of all American within the next five years. The yearly address saw the nation’s top executive use the word “Internet” six times – he did not use it at all in his 2010 State of the Union address or his 2009 speech to the joint session of Congress.
“This isn’t just about a faster Internet and fewer dropped calls,” said the President. “It’s about connecting every part of America to the digital age.”
Obama then went on to list examples of practical and life saving applications made possible by wireless Internet, such as digital textbooks for students, doctor to patient video chats, and the ability for firemen to quickly download the design of a burning building.
The President noted with seeming discouragement that homes in South Korea currently have greater Internet access than homes in the US, admitting, “our infrastructure used to be the best – but our lead has slipped.”
In an address filled with references to what Obama believes to be America’s current-day “Sputnik moment,” the President heavily emphasized the importance of innovation, education and infrastructure in America’s economic recovery process.
“To attract new businesses to our shores,” he said, “we need the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods, and information – from high-speed rail to high-speed Internet.”
The president hopes to achieve these goals by improving the quality of math and science education programs, cutting taxes for innovative businesses, and investing in information technology.