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View Diary: GOP: "Blatant Attempt by Obama to Provide Hi Speed Internet Has Founding Fathers Turning in Graves" (158 comments)

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  •  Not too tricky to figure out (3+ / 0-)

    so here goes...

    White House senior advisers have described the little-known proposal, announced earlier this summer under the name ConnectEd, as one of the biggest potential achievements of Obama’s second term.


    The proposal arrived at the White House after the 2012 election, when Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Julius Genachowski, a law school friend of Obama’s who was FCC chairman at the time, broached the idea.

    Inside the White House, there was interest in the policy but concern about the politics.

    The proposal makes use of the FCC’s ability to charge consumers fees to fund specific priorities, such as subsidizing phone service for the poor. The program, known as the universal service fund, has received bipartisan support in Congress but has drawn criticism from some telecom companies for raising fees and from some conservatives who oppose what they call handouts.

    In the case of ConnectEd, White House officials worried that Obama could be accused of raising taxes on all Americans who use phone or Internet service, amid a broader debate in which Republicans are saying he is trying to raise taxes on the middle class. The cost for the initiative is estimated at $4 billion to $6 billion, and the administration said it could work out to about $12 in fees for every cellphone user over three years.

    •  And here's an interesting side note... (0+ / 0-)
      But Obama is pressing ahead. In June, to announce ConnectEd, he visited a school in Mooresville, N.C., that had used alternative sources of funding to expand broadband.

      “How do we make sure Americans have the chance to earn the best skills and education possible?” the president asked a crowd of students and teachers. “At a moment when the rest of the world is trying to out-educate us, we’ve got to make sure that our young people — all you guys — have every tool that you need to go as far as your talents and your dreams and your ambitions and your hard work will take you.

      The announcement garnered little attention, despite the game-changing way the administration views the idea.

      On the same day of Obama’s visit, news reports were dominated by details of a wide-ranging National Security Agency surveillance program that has since become one of the major controversies of the president’s second term.

      As Air Force One flew toward North Carolina that day, Obama lamented to his education secretary that one of the administration’s biggest ideas was going to be overtaken by other news.

      “I remember him sort of saying, ‘It’s a shame that there’s going to be a focus on the noise rather than something that’s real and meaningful,’ ” Duncan said.

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