By:  Gary Arlen

As if there were any doubt, Google and its policy allies will continue to push their vision for Smart Cities with a focus on education and health applications during the coming years. Rural plus small-town deployment will remain a centerpiece of their political efforts.

At a Next Century Cities (NCC) program in Washington on Wednesday morning (Nov. 30), bipartisan speakers extolled broadband's value and some, such as Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), a member of the Senate Commerce and Judiciary committees, indicated plans to keep their agenda alive no matter what policy barriers lie ahead.

"Transforming Communities: Broadband Goals for 2017 and Beyond," the title of the event, was sponsored by Google Fiber, the Ford Foundation, Internet2 and Harrison Edwards (a Westchester, N.Y., public relations firm that represents many non-profit/educational institutions). The program (watch a video) was held at Google's Washington office.

Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), who sits on the Senate Appropriations and Rules committees, observed: "Broadband is a vital component to our nation’s 21st century infrastructure and our federal policies must reflect this. Right now, a digital divide exists between rural and metropolitan areas which we must overcome.”

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