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President Barack Obama announced a new plan to increase broadband Internet speeds in the United States by increasing competition. "Today, high-speed broadband is not a luxury, it's a necessity," he said during a speech Wednesday in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He pressured the Federal Communications Commission to end regulations in 19 states that he said prevented cities and local governments from creating broadband alternatives to those provided by major Internet service providers. He pointed to Cedar Falls, which he called "Iowa's first gigabit city," saying that the urban center of around 40,000 people had Internet speeds that were 100 times faster than the national average thanks to the community broadband network it started 20 years ago. "In too many places across America, some big companies are doing everything they can to keep out competitors," he said. His plan also called for for support and technical assistance for cities that want to create broadband networks similar to the one in Cedar Falls, loans for rural communities that want to improve Internet access, and a summit to held in the summer for mayors who want to boost their local broadband speeds.



— Keith Wagstaff