Think you could survive in this day and age without access to a broadband connection? The White House has its doubts. A recent report from the Broadband Opportunity Council (under the auspices of the Oval Office) described broadband connectivity as an "essential infrastructure for communities" that "has steadily shifted from an optional amenity to a core utility" on par with water, electricity and sewers. According to the report, which was headed by the chairs of the US departments of Agriculture and Commerce, 51 million Americans lack access to download speeds beyond 25 Mbps. That's roughly a sixth of the national population.