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Carolyn Kaster, Associated Press
President Barack Obama, joined by Robert Houlihan, Chief Technology Officer at Cedar Falls Utilities, second from left, and David Schilling, Communications Services Manager at Cedar Falls Utilities, third from left and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, attends a fiber optic splicing demonstration at Cedar Falls Utilities, in Cedar Falls, Iowa., Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, before speaking about steps to increase access to affordable, high-speed broadband across the country.

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — President Barack Obama says high-speed broadband is not a luxury but a necessity.

The president is promoting a plan to expand access to broadband communications services by increasing competition.

Obama says faster Internet service will create jobs and allow local businesses to grow. He was speaking Wednesday from Cedar Falls, Iowa, which provides high-speed Internet to residents.

Obama is criticizing laws in 19 states that he says stamp out competition. And he is encouraging the Federal Communications Commission to pre-empt state laws that stifle competition for high-speed Internet service.

His stance is at odds with major cable and telephone companies such as AT&T, Comcast and Time Warner Cable Inc. that currently provide Internet service, often with little or no competition.

Obama says big companies are trying to keep out competitors.