For years, lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle have been pushing for more funding to close the broadband gap in rural America.
Now, it appears that help is on the way.
In a recent speech at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, President Trump announced plans to include funding for rural broadband access in his upcoming $1 trillion infrastructure budget.
“We saw how today’s farmers can adjust application rates of fertilizers in their fields with just the touch of a smartphone. It’s changed a lot over the years,” Trump stated. “They showed us how they use precision agriculture to produce crops more efficiently and for far less cost. They’ve demonstrated how drones, of all things, are used to gather data on crops, and how simulators are used to train students in the next generation of farming equipment. If we continue to train our workers in these new technologies, then we will usher in a new era of prosperity for American agriculture and for the American farming family.”
As CED pointed out, Trump will have the support of the Federal Communications Committee (FCC) to help with this process. New FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is strongly in favor of expanding broadband access to underserved areas.
There is still a lot of work to be done before the majority of the U.S. has adequate broadband access, or — as the FCC puts it — the ability to download information at a rate of 25mbps or upload data at 3mb per second. As FiveThirtyEight explained, in New York City consumers can purchase a basic package offering 100mbps at about $30 per month. In a place like Saguache County, Colorado, this type of connection would cost $90 per month.
Fortunately, the White House and the FCC are showing strong support for rural broadband. So there is hope that these communities will be brought up to speed in the foreseeable future.