USDA’s rural broadband plan met with citizen criticism

Slow speeds, bad coverage and expensive service. These are just some of the concerns contained in nearly 300 public comments on Rural Broadband Pilot Program proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a review by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found.

USDA rural leader mum about funds needed for economic growth

Some 46 million people live in rural America, scattered across 72 percent of the U.S. landmass, and conditions in many rural communities “are incredibly challenging,” said Anne Hazlett, recently installed as head of the USDA’s rural economic development programs. During a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing, Hazlett agreed that “resources will be needed” for rural growth but deflected questions about whether more federal dollars should go into the programs.

Internet is familiar tool for farmers, but not quite as common as in town

Farmers, especially big operators, may be slightly more wired into the internet than rural Americans overall, and the urban-rural digital divide is narrowing, says a USDA report that provides a comparison with other measurements of the United States online. Based on a biennial survey of farmers, the USDA said 71 percent of U.S. farms have internet access.

‘We will rebuild rural America,’ says Trump, starting with broadband

In his first trip to Iowa since taking office, President Trump was introduced to high-technology, big-data dependent agriculture and said his $1 trillion infrastructure plan will expand broadband access in rural America. "We will rebuild rural America," said the president, with a prosperous farm sector as the lever for economic growth in rural communities.

China sets strict rules on Internet sale of food

Food regulators in China issued strict new rules, known as Order 27, "governing how food producers and operators — including related third-party computer platform and delivery service providers — store, market and transport their products sold online," said Food Safety News.

Farmers go wireless

When they want to go on the Web, farmers are moving firmly to wireless and satellite connections and leaving behind the traditional terrestrial line, according to a biennial USDA report.

USDA announces $85.8 million for rural broadband

Rural broadband projects from South Carolina to Alaska will receive a total of $85.8 million in grants and loans to construct or upgrade internet service, said the USDA.

Obama to boost high-speed Internet in rural and urban areas

President Obama is to visit Cedar Falls, Iowa, today to promote widespread availability of high-speed Internet service, including in rural areas with poor or no service. As part of its efforts, the White House says USDA will re-open its Rural Broadband program with $40-$50 million in loans "to eligible rural carriers that invest in bringing high-speed broadband to unserved and under-served rural areas." USDA also is accepting applications through its Community Connect program, which provides grants for broadband projects.

A broadband bottleneck for Big Data in agriculture

While urban America has nearly universal access to wired broadband, the rate in rural America is 78 percent, according to industry data. USDA's 2012 Census of Agriculture says 70 percent of farms have Internet access but...

Mississippi town sees gigabyte network as economic stimulus

With a population of 2,300, Quitman, Mississippi, will be one of 10 communities in the state to get a 1 gigabyte per second broadband network, says the Daily Yonder.