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.
In response to requests from 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.