"High-speed broadband is not a luxury, it's a necessity. This isn't just about making it easier to stream Netflix or scroll through your Facebook newsfeed, and it is frustrating if you're waiting for a long time before the thing finally comes up. This is about helping local businesses grow and prosper and compete in a global economy," Obama said.
"It's about giving the entrepreneur, the small businessperson on the main street a chance to compete with the folks out in Silicon Valley, or across the globe. It's about helping a student access the online courses and employment opportunities that can help her pursue her dreams," Obama said, as he unveiled measures for faster and cheaper broadband so they communities succeed in the digital economy.
Right now, 98 percent of Americans have access to the most basic levels of broadband.
"That's a good thing. But that number doesn’t look quite as good when you look at the speeds we're going to need for all the apps and the videos, and all the data and new software that is constantly coming onto market. We've got to keep pace. We've got to be up to speed," he said.
"Right now, about 45 million Americans cannot purchase next-generation broadband. And that next generation of broadband creates connections that are six or seven times faster than today's basic speeds. Only about half of rural Americans can log on at that super-fast rate," he said.
Cedar Falls, he said, unlike other US cities have almost a hundred times faster internet than the national speed.
Speaking in support of net neutrality, Obama said he believed they need to maintain a free and open Internet.
"Today, I'm making my administration's position clear on community broadband. I'm saying I'm on the side of competition. I believe that a community has the right to make its own choice and to provide its own broadband if it wants to," he said.
"I am absolutely confident that if we just give the Americans the tools they need, if we just help lay the foundation and allow them to access the amazing opportunities and technologies at this moment in world history, we're not just going to continue recovering from a bad recession, we’re going to ignite the next generation of American innovation," he said.