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A file photo of US President Barack Obama. Photo: Reuters
A file photo of US President Barack Obama. Photo: Reuters

Obama to promote broadband access, cybersecurity in next talks

Obama will discuss an initiative to improve consumer and student privacy on Monday, and visit the federal cybersecurity centre on Tuesday

Washington: Fresh from unveiling plans to spur homeownership and make community college free, US President Barack Obama will next highlight proposals to boost broadband access, improve cybersecurity and tackle identity theft.

Obama will discuss an initiative to improve consumer and student privacy on Monday, and visit the federal cybersecurity centre on Tuesday. He plans to travel to Iowa on Wednesday to lay out new plans to boost access to high-speed Internet service, according to a White House official, who declined to be identified.

Separately, Obama will meet with congressional leaders of both parties on Tuesday to discuss ways they can work together to boost the economy and national security, the official said in an email.

With Republicans having taken control of both Houses of Congress this past week and setting up showdowns with the president on issues, including immigration and the Keystone XL pipeline, Obama is previewing proposals he’ll include in his State of the Union address on 20 January and his budget plan early next month. The president is also being buoyed by signs that the US economy, and specifically job growth, are picking up.

“America’s resurgence is real, and now that we’ve got some calmer waters, if we all do our part, if we all pitch in, we can be sure that tide lifts all boats again," Obama said in a video message on Saturday. “We can make sure that the middle class is the engine that powers America’s prosperity for decades to come."

Sony hack

Last week, Obama said the Federal Housing Administration would cut mortgage-insurance premiums on loans used primarily by first-time or low-income home buyers. He also proposed providing free community-college education, which would cost $60 billion over 10 years if he can get Congress to go along.

The White House official didn’t provide specifics about what Obama would propose next week. On cybersecurity, the White House said Obama would lay out next steps on consumer financial protection, and ways to boost private sector collaboration with the government to combat cyber threats.

Cybersecurity has garnered fresh attention in recent weeks following a hack of Sony Corp. systems that paralysed the company’s networks, disrupted the release of a satirical movie about North Korea and led to the distribution of embarrassing internal emails. The US government has blamed the attack on the North Korean government, which has denied responsibility. Bloomberg

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