Frustrated over the number of Internet providers that are available to you? If so, you're like many who are limited to just a handful of broadband companies. But now President Obama wants to change that, arguing that choice and competition are lacking in the U.S. broadband market. On Wednesday, Obama will unveil a series of measures aimed at making high-speed Web connections cheaper and more widely available to millions of Americans. The announcement will focus chiefly on efforts by cities to build their own alternatives to major Internet providers such as Comcast, Verizon or AT&T — a public option for Internet access, you could say.
He'll write to the Federal Communications Commission urging the agency to help neutralize laws, erected by states, that effectively protect large established Internet providers against the threat represented by cities that want to build and offer their own, municipal Internet service. He'll direct federal agencies to expand grants and loans for these projects and for smaller, rural Internet providers. And he'll draw attention to a new coalition of mayors from 50 cities who've committed to spurring choice in the broadband industry.