Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton issued an ambitious “Technology & Innovation” agenda Tuesday to connect every U.S. household to the Internet by 2020 and offer entrepreneurs the option of deferring their student loans for up to three years as they launch their own businesses.
Many of Clinton’s ideas aren’t new but this is the first time that Clinton–or any presidential candidate–is synthesizing these ideas into a comprehensive platform.
The position paper said Clinton’s plan “will leverage technology to create good-paying jobs on Main Street—through new commitments in computer science and STEM education, support for entrepreneurial ecosystems, and other policies to build the human capital pipeline.”
The plan will deliver high-speed broadband with the goal of hooking up 100 percent of Americans by 2020, hook up public places like airports and transit stations—and enable them to offer free Wi-Fi—and lay the groundwork for the next generation of the mobile Internet and the Internet of Things.
“Doing this right will not only boost economic growth, it will lead to immeasurable social benefits [including] interoperable and next-generation public safety systems,” the paper said.
The position paper builds on the agenda and track record of President Obama’s administration, said Alan Balutis, senior director and distinguished fellow, Cisco Systems, U.S. Public Sector.
“It represents logical next steps to continue to use technology to enhance the nation’s economy and the way we do business,” Balutis said. “It represents the first of several announcements about technology and innovation and smarter and more innovative government. I would expect to see something coming in the future–engineering a smarter and more innovative government.”
Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hasn’t offered much in the way of guidance on technology issues, except to say that as president, he would require Apple to manufacture its phones in the United States and work with Bill Gates to “close” parts of the Internet to prevent online terrorist recruiters.
Among Clinton’s proposals:
- Strongly defend net neutrality.
- A special commission to study encryption.
- Business owners who locate in “distressed communities” or start a social enterprise could ask the government to forgive as much as $17,500 in loans after five years in business.
- Increase research and development budgets of the National Science Foundation and similar entities and launch an initiative to train up to 50,000 computer science teachers.