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American Broadband Initiative Connecting Rural America

Podcast / Newsline March 14, 2019

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The American Broadband Initiative is helping rural America connect to rural broadband. Micheal Clements has more.

Clements: The American Broadband Initiative by the Trump administration is providing critical broadband connections in rural areas. Megan Nelson, economic analyst at the American Farm Bureau Federation, says the initiative focuses on improving rural economies, because access to broadband is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity.

Nelson: The American Broadband Initiative is the administration’s plan to further deploy broadband infrastructure and bring E-connectivity to rural populations. They’re mainly focusing on improving quality of life, rural workforce, technology and economic development in this area.

Clements: Funding comes from the Department of Agriculture and the Federal Communications Commission.

Nelson: Service providers primarily utilize two federal agencies to subsidize the costs of infrastructure buildout to rural areas: UDSA’s Rural Utilities Service and the Universal Serval Fund through FCC. Each of these agencies manage several grant and loan programs, each targeting different areas of need.

Clements:  Still, there’s work to be done as 29 percent of farmers report having no internet connection at the farm.

Nelson: Access to reliable high-speed broadband is critical to modern agriculture practices and the quality of life for rural Americans. While the American Broadband Initiative is taking some great steps in the right direction, there are still 24 million Americans lacking adequate access to broadband.

Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.

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