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View from the Cab: Connecting America

I am pleased to know that USDA continues to work to improve the high-speed broadband infrastructure in rural America.

You may recall me writing of this very topic in a previous column. In today’s world, rural residents and businesses need a dependable and fast Internet connection in order to survive. USDA states in a news release that reliable and affordable high-speed connections act as a catalyst for rural prosperity by enabling efficient, modern communication between households, farms, ranches, schools and hospitals.

The Federal Communications Commission reports that 80 percent of the 24 million Americans who lack broadband access live in rural areas. USDA claims it can help rural communities bridge the infrastructure gap through program investment, best practice implementation and strategic partnerships. A new webpage has been developed to provide information on programs which offer over $700 million each year for modern broadband e-Connectivity in rural towns.

An additional $600 million is expected to be released in the coming months to expand broadband infrastructure in the rural areas. The website has a feedback form for people just like you and me to have a say in the requirements and design of the new pilot program. President Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity back in April 2017 to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes which could promote ag and prosperity in the countryside.

“Rural high-speed broadband e-Connectivity is as important for economic development as rail, roads, bridges and airports – and as vital as the buildouts of rural telephone networks were decades ago,” said Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue. “USDA is committed to being a strong partner with rural leaders in deploying this essential infrastructure.”

Imagine a high-speed Internet connection in your home which doesn’t slow down when the kids come home from school in the evenings or over the weekend. Download times would be lightning fast and a farmer’s office work could get done much faster. Let’s do all we can to help make sure this faster connectivity becomes a reality for the Midwest and the rest of rural America.

(The View from the Cab is powered each week by Petersen Motors in Fairbury)

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