Expanding Rural Broadband Services Across America

January 10, 2020
Weekly Columns

If you’ve lived in rural Arkansas for any length of time, you know that broadband connectivity is a huge issue. Something as simple as uploading a resume to a job posting or researching for a time-sensitive project can quickly be delayed by a spotty internet connection. Communities are becoming more reliant on internet connectivity by the day, which further increases the divide between rural and heavily populated areas.

As we start the new year, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai is launching an aggressive plan to invest in rural broadband connectivity across America. With a $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, the Commission is seeking to establish a two-part process to deploy high-speed funding for areas currently below the Commission’s minimum threshold for internet speed.

“While we’ve made substantial progress in expanding broadband deployment over the last three years, the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund would be the biggest step the FCC has taken to date to close the digital divide,” Chairman Pai said in a press release.  “This new fund would target rural areas across the country where residents currently lack access to adequate broadband and would deploy high-speed broadband to millions of rural Americans in an efficient and effective manner.”

Many areas in Arkansas stand to benefit greatly from this announcement, and I’m so glad to see this administration placing such a high emphasis on connecting all Americans – regardless of their zip code – to the economic benefits of high-speed, reliable internet connectivity.