Good News for Telecom: Government Involvement Grows

Carl Weinschenk

The involvement of the military and the U.S. government in general always has been a good thing for telecommunications and IT. Indeed, the Internet itself evolved in large part due to the military’s desire to decentralize information and communications during the Cold War. Ever since, various issues — albeit smaller ones — have gotten more traction due to government involvement. The fed's push of telecommuting and IPv6 are examples.

It's good news for folks in the mobile ecosystem that the military is turning its attention more fully their way. Last week, the U.S. Department of Defense released its mobile strategy, which aims to upgrade wireless infrastructure, mobile devices and applications, according to the agency. This is from the DoD press release, which was posted by the American Forces Press Service:

The scope of the DOD mobile device user base is significant, according to the release, with more than 250,000 commercial mobile devices and several thousand Apple and Android operating systems, including pilots. The Mobile Device Strategy is intended to align the progress of these various mobile devices, pilots and initiatives across DOD under common objectives to ensure the warfighter benefits from these activities and aligns with efforts in the Joint Information Environment.

The Reuters story on the announcement focused on the real world marketplace impact of the move by the DoD. The bottom line is that while there will be winners and losers, the overall segment will grow:

Details must still be worked out, but the policy lays the groundwork for big battles between Research in Motion, which makes the Pentagon's most commonly used BlackBerry device, and competitors like Apple and Google.

The Reuters story paints the U.S. military as playing catch-up on mobility. It’s interesting that the government seems to be keeping pace in many areas pertaining to broadband. Last week, President Obama issued an executive order making broadband construction along federal roadways and properties as much as 90 percent cheaper than today. The goal is efficiency:

The new Executive Order will ensure that agencies charged with managing Federal properties and roads take specific steps to adopt a uniform approach for allowing broadband carriers to build networks on and through those assets and speed the delivery of connectivity to communities, businesses, and schools.

The two initiatives are not directly connected. One involves mobility and relates solely to the DoD. The other is aimed at wired land lines. It doesn't involve pushing the use of technology by the government itself; it looks outward toward the way in which the feds can help citizens be better connected. In the big picture, though, the two share the commonality of pushing modern telecommunications forward. The importance of the government’s direct and indirect influence can’t be over-estimated.

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