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Innovation Key to Drawing Top Jobs and Industries, Obama Says

America can’t expect tomorrow’s economy to take root using yesterday’s infrastructure, President Barack Obama told an audience yesterday (Feb. 10) at Northern Michigan University in Marquette in the state’s Upper Peninsula. In short, the U.S. needs to step up its game—and innovation will be crucial.

Nationwide high-speed wireless services are the key to helping America win and secure its future, Obama said in his speech. These services are critical to enable businesses to grow faster and students to learn more to prepare for future opportunities.

[FCC Aims to Expand Broadband to Underserved Areas ]

“To attract the best jobs, the newest industries, we’re going to have to out-innovate, out-educate, out-build,” he said. “We’re going to have to out-hustle the rest of the world. That means investing in cutting-edge research and technology.”

Bringing high-speed wireless access to the entire country is a task similar in scope and significance to the building of the railroads to connect all parts of the country in the 19th century.  The railroads were the glue that united a nation and provided an engine for unprecedented economic growth. We need a similar build-out of our communications infrastructure , the president said.

If we want new jobs, Obama said, we have to have the best communication network in the world. But the U.S. is still a long way off — one-third of American households still don’t have high-speed Internet.

“Within five years, we want to make it possible for businesses to put high-speed wireless service in reach of virtually every American,” Obama said. “For millions of Americans, the railway hasn’t showed up yet. For our families and our businesses, high-speed wireless service, that’s the next train station; it’s the next off-ramp. It’s how we’ll spark new innovation, new investment, new jobs .”

Obama selected Marquette to deliver his wireless message, the White House said in a statement, because it’s a city where local businesses have been able to grow as a result of wireless access.