Tuesday, June 24, 2008 at 2:36 PM ET
Today Google joined a national initiative of public interest, civic and industry groups to help launch the Internet for Everyone campaign, whose goal is to make ubiquitous and open broadband access for every American a priority in the next administration.
Why is Google involved? Making the Internet accessible to more Americans is part of our corporate DNA. It's what has motivated our work on municipal wi-fi, in the 700 MHz spectrum auction, our investment in Clearwire and development of Android, and most recently our advocacy in support of opening up the unused portions of the TV spectrum band for use by Internet devices.
For more than a decade the Internet has driven unprecedented innovation, economic growth, and prosperity. Companies like Google, Amazon, eBay, Facebook -- and numerous smaller but impactful players -- have fundamentally changed people's lives. Their success wouldn't have been possible without the ability of tens of millions of Americans to connect easily to a open Internet. And there's no doubt that the next generation of inventions to transform our lives and our economy will happen online, making high-speed access to the Net more important than ever.
Unfortunately, over the past several years the U.S. has been falling further behind Europe and Asia in broadband access and quality. As I've written about in the past, our country's comparatively low ranking in broadband penetration will have a real impact on whether the U.S. retains its edge in innovation. The social and economic consequences of America's failure to remain competitive are serious, and we should dedicate ourselves to fixing this deficiency. The Internet for Everyone campaign promises just such an effort.
There's no doubt that the decisions we are making today will shape the Internet of tomorrow. In my view, we must develop a comprehensive, forward-looking national innovation strategy to address and forestall America's technological decline. The Net's future has every potential to be bright, but it will happen only if we ensure that everyone has access to its broadband on-ramps.