American Farm Bureau Federation: Give Rural Areas Broadband Internet Access

Rural areas should be the priority for $7 billion in funding intended to implement new high-speed broadband Internet access, according to a statement the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) issued to two federal agencies.

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In response to requests from the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service and the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration for comments on allocation of the funding that is part of recently passed legislation, AFBF stressed that the intent of Congress in the legislation was to provide broadband services to unserved and underserved areas of the nation.

AFBF went on to state that broadband service would bolster rural communities with better access to health care, education, and business opportunities. These areas of the country lack access to a modern high-speed telecommunications infrastructure and often do not have the capital necessary to address infrastructure needs.

In addition, AFBF noted that retail price should be one of the primary considerations when awarding funding. In rural areas, broadband service must be affordable for the majority of businesses and residents to benefit from subscribing to the service.

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Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Living with dial-up internet service is frustrating and time-consuming! As a grape grower in southeastern MO, I check weather forecasts, weather radar, and viticultural websites frequently—and I keep a BOOK handy so I can read a few paragraphs while I wait for the site to download (at 26-28 KILObytes/sec, not megabytes!). Apparently, our residence and vineyard is “just beyond” the maximum distance allowable from the nearest phone switching station, and there doesn’t seem to be any impetus towards remedying the situation. It puts rural businesses and growers at a disadvantage to our city cousins, and it’s discriminatory. What if the electric utilities had decided decades ago not to serve thinly-populated areas, and serve only towns and cities? Would we still be content today with kerosene lanterns and wood cooking stoves, knowing that we could have Subzero fridges, microwave ovens, and “mood lighting” if we only lived in town?

The internet has become a “utility” because it allows anyone instant access (well, maybe not INSTANT access . . .) to information that improves productivity, planning, and idea-sharing. It is a great equalizer for knowledge access. To make it more difficult and time-consuming for rural folks to access this wealth of information is an unfair impediment, even if we are generally a patient lot. (My patience was wearing thin waiting for this damn site to pop up . . .).

I support the AFBF (of which I’m a MO member) in its lobbying for equal access to high-speed internet service for rural citizens. We’re every bit as much in business as our metropolitan bretheren, and just as deserving of time-efficient service!

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Living with dial-up internet service is frustrating and time-consuming! As a grape grower in southeastern MO, I check weather forecasts, weather radar, and viticultural websites frequently—and I keep a BOOK handy so I can read a few paragraphs while I wait for the site to download (at 26-28 KILObytes/sec, not megabytes!). Apparently, our residence and vineyard is “just beyond” the maximum distance allowable from the nearest phone switching station, and there doesn’t seem to be any impetus towards remedying the situation. It puts rural businesses and growers at a disadvantage to our city cousins, and it’s discriminatory. What if the electric utilities had decided decades ago not to serve thinly-populated areas, and serve only towns and cities? Would we still be content today with kerosene lanterns and wood cooking stoves, knowing that we could have Subzero fridges, microwave ovens, and “mood lighting” if we only lived in town?

The internet has become a “utility” because it allows anyone instant access (well, maybe not INSTANT access . . .) to information that improves productivity, planning, and idea-sharing. It is a great equalizer for knowledge access. To make it more difficult and time-consuming for rural folks to access this wealth of information is an unfair impediment, even if we are generally a patient lot. (My patience was wearing thin waiting for this damn site to pop up . . .).

I support the AFBF (of which I’m a MO member) in its lobbying for equal access to high-speed internet service for rural citizens. We’re every bit as much in business as our metropolitan bretheren, and just as deserving of time-efficient service!