Will Obama

The Feb. 20 issue of Network World Canada could easily be called the second in a series of Obama issues. Three months after the U.S. elections, pundits (like me) are still pondering the American President’s effect on the tech industry.

In the Feb. 6 issue, on our cover, we quoted a National Bank Financial report speculating companies like Sandvine, which makes deep packet inspection technology, could be hurt if net neutrality (to which Obama has paid some lip service) becomes mandatory.

In the opinions section of the Feb. 20 issue, Nemertes Research President Johna Till Johnson is calling for some “real investment” in the research that spawned the Internet in the first place. And Scott Bradner points out some discrepancies between the OECD and Pew Research’s assessments on the state of broadband in the U.S.

Though Obama is talking a lot about broadband infrastructure, until we get more details, it’s a bit early to make any assumptions. We know he wants broadband to be part of the stimulus package, but that’s about it. We also know Congress wants “Buy American” rules in the stimulus, which doesn’t bode well for Canadian firms. At press time, Obama had asked Congress to.

What is promising is Obama’s plan to put electronic health records in every doctor’s office. Not only would this save Americans money by reducing duplication, but would set an example for Canadian jurisdictions.

His plan to make public buildings more energy efficient could also stimulate development of technologies similar to Cisco Systems’ EnergyWise software. While we in the media fawn over an American president because he knows how to use a computer, we should not count broadband chickens before they hatch.