It is a pleasure to be here to participate in the Competes video series and to discuss the important role of broadband Internet in boosting America's competitiveness. One of the Obama Administration's priorities is expanding affordable access to and adoption of high-speed Internet in America. This is a key element of the President's strategy to build the innovation economy of the future -- one that supports new and better jobs, and enhances America's global competitiveness. Our emphasis on broadband stems from the fact that it is a vital link to providing opportunities to our citizens to participate more fully in the global economy. When you don't have regular access to high-speed Internet, you don't have access to all the educational and employment opportunities it provides. Consider this:
Approximately 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies only accept job applications online.
About 60 percent of working Americans use the Internet as an integral part of their jobs.
And, Global online transactions total an estimated $10 trillion annually.
But despite the growing importance of the Internet in daily life, 28 percent of Americans never go online. Many towns and anchor institutions - such as schools, libraries, and hospitals-- do not have adequate broadband service. Thanks to the Recovery Act, I'm pleased to say that NTIA is investing in a host of projects nationwide to help close the gap.
NTIA is overseeing approximately 230 projects to expand broadband access and adoption. These projects are building and upgrading broadband infrastructure, expanding and improving public computer centers, and promoting sustainable broadband adoption through computer training and other approaches. Because of these grants, small businesses in Vermont are receiving training to better utilize the Internet. Unemployed residents in West Virginia are using resource centers to access the Internet to seek employment and learn basic computer skills. And, our projects have connected fire stations in Maryland, elementary schools in Hawaii, and rural health clinics in Alabama to high- speed broadband Internet. More high-speed Internet means more small businesses, entrepreneurs and farmers with better access to: National and international markets, Skilled employees; and a broader array of vendors, suppliers and customers.
We will continue to vigorously oversee the projects to ensure they are completed on time, on budget, and deliver the promised benefits to communities. I encourage you to explore the web site and learn more about the importance of digital infrastructure to America's competativeness.