President Biden’s months-delayed budget calls for small increases in land stewardship spending, around $300 million a year in the near term, by USDA to mitigate climate change. The administration also proposed a $65 million increase in funding for USDA’s ReConnect program to deploy broadband to …
High-speed internet will be the centerpiece of rural economic development legislation drafted by the House Agriculture Committee, said chairman David Scott on Monday. Scott said he expects the committee will call a hearing on rural broadband in early April with a bipartisan bill to follow. …
In what it described as its biggest step yet to close the digital divide, the Federal Communications Commission voted on Thursday to establish a “rural digital opportunity fund” to provide up to $20 billion over 10 years for high-speed internet networks in rural America.
More than half of U.S. farm operators say they do business over the internet, a 13-point increase in six years, as ownership of computers and access to the internet blossomed, according to USDA. Nonetheless, the Pew Research Center says rural Americans are much less likely than their city counterparts to have a smartphone or broadband service at home.
Rural Americans are on the wrong side of the digital divide, with persistently lower rates of access to broadband service than their metropolitan counterparts. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue discussed the gap during an Axios interview this week, saying, “One of the things we’re really focusing on at USDA for rural development is broadband.”
As part of a mammoth package envisioned by the Trump administration, the nation's governors would be given $70 billion in block grants to help finance rural projects such as expansion of broadband service, said two senior White House officials. They said the block grant funding would be available on a more rapid basis than the rest of the $200 billion in federal funding that would be provided for improvements nationwide for all types of public works.
The president of a rural electric cooperative in central Missouri is President Trump’s choice to head the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service. The agency oversees programs that range from water and sewer facilities to electrical lines and telecommunications.
After declaring “America is a nation of builders,” President Trump asked Congress to write a bill that would fund $1.5 trillion in “gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways across our land” — much of it financed by state, local, and private-sector money. A quarter of the federal funds would be earmarked for rural projects.
The Trump administration’s rural prosperity report visualizes broadband as a lever for economic growth, but experts tell Harvest Public Media that “the devil is in the details — or lack thereof.”