As her State Department emails continue to trickle out, former Secretary of State and 2016 presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has unveiled a five-year, $275 billion infrastructure plan, hinging on a main goal: to expand faster broadband connections to millions of Americans. This goal, among others that aim to improve the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges, would bring the United State’s infrastructure and technology up to par with other major nations, including China, she said. “It means giving all American households access to world-class broadband and creating connected ‘smart cities’ with infrastructure that’s part of tomorrow’s Internet of Things,” her plan says. By 2020, she says she’ll bring affordable broadband with “sufficient” speeds to all American households, and with that wider internet access, she’ll push broadband providers to fight for their customers with lower prices.
This goal is already a stated one among American agencies and legislators. The FCC changed the definition of broadband earlier this year when it raised the minimum download speed needed from 4Mbps to 25Mbps and the minimum upload speed from 1Mbps to 3Mbps. Approximately 20 percent of Americans’ connections do not meet that standard. “High-speed internet access is not a luxury; it is a necessity for equal opportunity and social mobility in a 21st century economy,” Clinton’s plan states. With that in mind, she says her plan will build on the Obama Administration’s efforts to equip public places, including libraries, schools, and mass transit systems, with these high-speed connections.
Her plan also calls for “fostering the evolution from 4G wireless networks to 5G networks and other next-generation systems,” which she calls “essential platforms” that support connected devices, smart factories, and driverless cars. All these investments, she believes, have “enormous potential to drive economic growth and improve people’s lives.”