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AP Op-ed: Rural America on Wrong Side of Digital Divide



Kim Baker

Director, Digital Initiatives

photo credit: AFBF Photo, Morgan Walker

“Hamilton County has an abundance of many things – wheat, sorghum and dairy for starters – but broadband isn’t one of them,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall wrote in an op-ed published by the Associated Press. Starting with the negative impact of not having broadband for simple business functions in a rural community in Kansas, Duvall explained the importance of broadband and how to bridge America’s digital divide.

Duvall noted the consequences of large inaccuracies in broadband data for rural communities. “For example, the FCC’s reports are used to allocate billions of dollars in federal funding in loans and grants that support rural broadband deployment. Inaccurate data can lead to duplicative efforts in some communities and cause others to remain locked behind the digital divide.”

Further, “Republicans and Democrats agree that bridging the digital divide is crucial to America’s economic future, but we won’t get there unless we first know where the gaps are.”