posted on Mar, 27 2008 @ 12:06 AM
I. The Promise of the NII
Imagine you had a device that combined a telephone, a TV, a camcorder, and a personal computer. No matter where you went or what time it was, your
child could see you and talk to you, you could watch a replay of your team's last game, you could browse the latest additions to the library, or you
could find the best prices in town on groceries, furniture, clothes -- whatever you needed.
Imagine further the dramatic changes in your life if:
* The best schools, teachers, and courses were available to all students, without regard to geography, distance, resources, or disability;
* The vast resources of art, literature, and science were available everywhere, not just in large institutions or big-city libraries and
* Services that improve America's health care system and respond to other important social needs were available on-line, without waiting in line,
when and where you needed them;
* You could live in many places without foregoing opportunities for useful and fulfilling employment, by "telecommuting" to your office through
an electronic highway instead of by automobile, bus or train;
* Small manufacturers could get orders from all over the world electronically -- with detailed specifications -- in a form that the machines could
use to produce the necessary items;
* You could see the latest movies, play the hottest video games, or bank and shop from the comfort of your home whenever you chose;
* You could obtain government information directly or through local organizations like libraries, apply for and receive government benefits
electronically, and get in touch with government officials easily; and
* Individual government agencies, businesses and other entities all could exchange information electronically -- reducing paperwork and improving
Information is one of the nation's most critical economic resources, for service industries as well as manufacturing, for economic as well as
national security. By one estimate, two- thirds of U.S. workers are in information-related jobs, and the rest are in industries that rely heavily on
information. In an era of global markets and global competition, the technologies to create, manipulate, manage and use information are of strategic
importance for the United States. Those technologies will help U.S. businesses remain competitive and create challenging, high- paying jobs. They also
will fuel economic growth which, in turn, will generate a steadily-increasing standard of living for all Americans.
That is why the Administration has launched the National Information Infrastructure initiative. We are committed to working with business, labor,
academia, public interest groups, Congress, and state and local government to ensure the development of a national information infrastructure (NII)
that enables all Americans to access information and communicate with each other using voice, data, image or video at anytime, anywhere. By
encouraging private sector investment in the NII's development, and through government programs to improve access to essential services, we will
promote U.S. competitiveness, job creation and solutions to pressing social problems.
II. What Is the NII?
The phrase "information infrastructure" has an expansive meaning. The NII includes more than just the physical facilities used to transmit, store,
process, and display voice, data, and images. It encompasses:
* A wide range and ever-expanding range of equipment including cameras, scanners, keyboards, telephones, fax machines, computers, switches,
compact disks, video and audio tape, cable, wire, satellites, optical fiber transmission lines, microwave nets, switches, televisions, monitors,
printers, and much more.
The NII will integrate and interconnect these physical components in a technologically neutral manner so that no one industry will be favored
over any other. Most importantly, the NII requires building foundations for living in the Information Age and for making these technological advances
useful to the public, business, libraries, and other nongovernmental entities. That is why, beyond the physical components of the infrastructure, the
value of the National Information Infrastructure to users and the nation will depend in large part on the quality of its other elements:
* The information itself, which may be in the form of video programming, scientific or business databases, images, sound recordings, library
archives, and other media. Vast quantities of that information exist today in government agencies and even more valuable information is produced every
day in our laboratories, studios, publishing houses, and elsewhere.
* Applications and software that allow users to access, manipulate, organize, and digest the proliferating mass of information that the NII's
facilities will put at their fingertips.
* The network standards and transmission codes that facilitate interconnection and interoperation between networks, and ensure the privacy of
persons and the security of the information carried, as well as the security and reliability of the networks .
* The people -- largely in the private sector -- who create the information, develop applications and services, construct the facilities, and
train others to tap its potential. Many of these people will be vendors, operators, and service providers working for private industry.
Every component of the information infrastructure must be developed and integrated if America is to capture the promise of the Information Age.
The Administration's NII initiative will promote and support full development of each component. Regulatory and economic policies will be adopted
that encourage private firms to create jobs and invest in the applications and physical facilities that comprise the infrastructure. The Federal
government will assist industry, labor, academia, and state and local governments in developing the information resources and applications needed to
maximize the potential of those underlying facilities. Moreover, and perhaps most importantly, the NII initiative will help educate and train our
people so that they are prepared not only to contribute to the further growth of the NII, but also to understand and enjoy fully the services and
capabilities that it will make available.