Doubling the Spectrum....for High Speed Rail and the Smart Grid?

The Wall Street Journal reports that President Obama ordered the near doubling of the communications spectrum today, "to free up 500 megahertz of airwaves as part of a broader strategy for improving the U.S.'s broadband infrastructure". Ultimately, segments of these freed-up "airwaves" (not unlike over-the-air radio station channels) will be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

The article goes on to say, "The White House is calling for billions of dollars in proceeds from the auctions to be used for building a new public safety network for police and firemen and to help pay for other 'growth enhancing infrastructure,' like high speed rail projects". High speed rail?

As it turns out, this move by the President is part of a greater government plan. Who knew? There's even a government website dedicated to informing the public.  According to said website, the plan is all about "innovation and investment", "inclusion" and "national purpose". Really?

Chapter 12 of the plan is titled "Energy and the Environment". Under sections 12.1 and 12.2 we find references to the Smart Grid of all things. Here's an eye-catching quote at the top of 12.1:

"The United States is undertaking a massive communications and information technology buildout to produce the Smart Grid, which the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines as the 'two-way flow of electricity and information to create an automated, widely distributed energy delivery network.'

The vision is to build a modern grid that enables energy efficiency and the widespread use of both renewable power and plug-in electric vehicles, reducing the country's dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil. This grid will intelligently detect problems and automatically route power around localized outages, making the energy system more resilient to natural disasters and terrorist attacks. It will keep bills low and minimize greenhouse gas emissions."

To summarize, a "massive information technology buildout" is part of a plan to "minimize greenhouse gas emissions". Never mind the state of "climate science" such as it is, our government is pressing ahead, massively, toward energy & environmental goals that are at best scientifically questionable and at worst economically disastrous.

Skipping to Chapter 17, the "Implementation" portion of the plan, one is struck by "Recommendation 17.1: The Executive Branch should create a Broadband Strategy Council to coordinate the implementation of National Broadband Plan recommendations". It's further suggested that:

"This proposed Broadband Strategy Council (BSC) could include senior officials from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Economic Council and the Office of Management and Budget. The BSC's membership could also include high-level personnel drawn from the FCC, NTIA and other agencies with key roles in implementing plan recommendations".

Is this yet another big government encroachment on private industry? You make the call.

While Finance Reform, Cap & Trade, Kagan and BP share the main stage, the man behind the curtain is pulling levers with reckless abandon... and without much oversight.
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