THE NATIONAL INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE:
AGENDA FOR ACTION
All Americans have a stake in the construction of an
advanced National Information Infrastructure (NII), a seamless
web of communications networks, computers, databases, and
consumer electronics that will put vast amounts of information at
users' fingertips. Development of the NII can help unleash an
information revolution that will change forever the way people
live, work, and interact with each other:
- People could live almost anywhere they wanted, without
foregoing opportunities for useful and fulfilling
employment, by "telecommuting" to their offices through an
- The best schools, teachers, and courses would be available
to all students, without regard to geography, distance,
resources, or disability;
- Services that improve America's health care system and
respond to other important social needs could be available
on-line, without waiting in line, when and where you needed
Private sector firms are already developing and deploying
that infrastructure today. Nevertheless, there remain essential
roles for government in this process. Carefully crafted
government action will complement and enhance the efforts of the
private sector and assure the growth of an information
infrastructure available to all Americans at reasonable cost. In
developing our policy initiatives in this area, the
Administration will work in close partnership with business,
labor, academia, the public, Congress, and state and local
government. Our efforts will be guided by the following
principles and objectives:
- Promote private sector investment, through appropriate tax
and regulatory policies.
- Extend the "universal service" concept to ensure that
information resources are available to all at affordable prices.
Because information means empowerment--and employment--the
government has a duty to ensure that all Americans have access to
the resources and job creation potential of the Information Age.
- Act as a catalyst to promote technological innovation and
new applications. Commit important government research programs
and grants to help the private sector develop and demonstrate
technologies needed for the NII, and develop the applications and
services that will maximize its value to users.
- Promote seamless, interactive, user-driven operation of
the NII. As the NII evolves into a "network of networks,"
government will ensure that users can transfer information across
networks easily and efficiently. To increase the likelihood that
the NII will be both interactive and, to a large extent, user-
driven, government must reform regulations and policies that may
inadvertently hamper the development of interactive applications.
- Ensure information security and network reliability. The
NII must be trust-worthy and secure, protecting the privacy of
its users. Government action will also ensure that the overall
system remains reliable, quickly repairable in the event of a
failure and, perhaps most importantly, easy to use.
- Improve management of the radio frequency spectrum, an
increasingly critical resource.
- Protect intellectual property rights. The Administration
will investigate how to strengthen domestic copyright laws and
international intellectual property treaties to prevent piracy
and to protect the integrity of intellectual property.
- Coordinate with other levels of government and with other
nations. Because information crosses state, regional, and
national boundaries, coordination is critical to avoid needless
obstacles and prevent unfair policies that handicap U.S.
- Provide access to government information and improve
government procurement. The Administration will seek to ensure
that Federal agencies, in concert with state and local
governments, use the NII to expand the information available to
the public, ensuring that the immense reservoir of government
information is available to the public easily and equitably.
Additionally, Federal procurement policies for telecommunications
and information services and equipment will be designed to
promote important technical developments for the NII and to
provide attractive incentives for the private sector to
contribute to NII development.
The time for action is now. Every day brings news of
change: new technologies, like hand-held computerized
assistants; new ventures and mergers combining businesses that
not long ago seemed discrete and insular; new legal decisions
that challenge the separation of computer, cable, and telephone
companies. These changes promise substantial benefits for the
American people, but only if government understands fully their
implications and begins working with the private sector and other
interested parties to shape the evolution of the communications
The benefits of the NII for the nation are immense. An
advanced information infrastructure will enable U.S. firms to
compete and win in the global economy, generating good jobs for
the American people and economic growth for the nation. As
importantly, the NII can transform the lives of the American
people -- ameliorating the constraints of geography, disability,
and economic status -- giving all Americans a fair opportunity to
go as far as their talents and ambitions will take them.
Agenda for Action