President Obama’s proposed $825 billion stimulus package includes $6 billion to extend high-speed Internet access to rural and underprivileged areas. This says a lot. It amounts to a very wise rejection of a bloated $44 billion proposal to lay fiberoptic cable as the preferred way to bridge the digital divide, says Mark Cooper, research director of Consumer Federation of America.
Installing basic high-speed connections based on existing wireless technologies will bring basic Internet access to many more people much more quickly. In short, says Cooper, it would make the highest use of each stimulus dollar spent.
“This package avoids a gold-plated super information highway — and all of the corporate welfare that goes along with that,” says Cooper. “It’s exactly the kind of very specifically targeted appropriation we need; it will, indeed, bring people we’ve left behind into the digital revolution.”
That said, it strikes me that this presents a ripe opportunity for the tech security community to step forward and suggests ways to extend basic wireless service to rural areas — and do it securely.
The technology is readily available, albeit scattered among competing vendors. Here is a great opportunity for the public and private sectors to step forward and develop best practices security standards for wireless products and services — standards which do not now exist. This could be another big step, akin to identifying the Top 25 coding flaws, that could make the Internet much safer over time.
I’d love to hear from mobile security vendors on this issue.