Crisis in rural broadband continues

Roughly 39 percent of rural Americans lack access to high-speed broadband, compared with just four percent of urban Americans, according to a recent Federal Communications Commission report, the company said.

A small portion — USD 350 million — of the USD 867 billion new Farm Bill expands the US Department of Agriculture´s loan and grant program for deploying rural broadband service.

This funding is in addition to USDA´s USD 600 million broadband loan/grant program included in the Congressional omnibus budget passed in March. In mid-December, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that telecommunications companies, rural electric cooperatives and utilities, Internet service providers and municipalities may apply for funding from the USD 600 million pool to connect rural areas that currently have insufficient broadband service. The funding will be distributed through USDA´s Rural Utilities Service (RUS).

Communicating for America, Inc. (CA) is a nationwide nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that represents about 100,000 small businesses, self-employed and agricultural members across America. Since 1972 CA has been working on small business, tax, healthcare and agricultural policy issues on behalf of its members. For more information visit www.communicatingforamerica.org.