Obama’s latest order: Ignite U.S. tech, starting with 90% cheaper Internet access

President Obama has just signed an executive order that could reduce the cost of broadband Internet access by up to 90 percent.

The order makes it faster, easier, and cheaper to get broadband equipment set up on federally owned property, including roadways and federal buildings.

Currently, these properties are managed by a range of different agencies, and each agency has its own way of handling broadband providers’ requests for leases on the properties. Today’s new order gives agencies “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.”

“Building a nationwide broadband network will strengthen our economy and put more Americans back to work,” President Obama said in a statement today.

“By connecting every corner of our country to the digital age, we can help our businesses become more competitive, our students become more informed, and our citizens become more engaged.”

The White House is also announcing today a new partnership called U.S. Ignite, an initiative from cities, companies, and other organizations to make more and better software for medicine, manufacturing, emergency services, energy, education, and other industries — and to make that software at a much faster pace. Basically, the idea is to imagine “an Internet without limits” and how such a public utility could change our lives and our country.

Mozilla is one of the partners for U.S. Ignite and, together with the National Science Foundation, is offering a hefty $500,000 in prize money for the best innovations and hacks. Applications for Mozilla Ignite will open on August 1, 2012. So far, some of the submissions are pretty creative, including a platform for conducting surgery remotely and better food transportation and food supply management.

Many nonprofit organizations are assisting with U.S. Ignite and will be announcing hack days and startup weekends to get applications onto the market as quickly as possible.

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