High-speed internet is increasingly seen as a ‘must’ for rural schools, businesses, and farms in an increasingly competitive global economy—a point stressed recently by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.
“We still have to make sure, as we did with rural electrification, that everybody has an opportunity to take advantage of this.”
And Secretary Vilsack says that means getting high-speed internet everywhere across rural America.
“Businesses can expand significantly, their network, their ability to sell, not just in their own geographic area, but literally, worldwide. Educational facilities now can link up. Oftentimes, in rural communities, it’s sometimes difficult to have the broad array of courses that young folks may have in other schools in urban centers., so now with high-speed internet, there’s an opportunity to access some of those advanced placement courses, for example.”
Farmers also benefit from the edge the internet gives them according to Vilsack.
“Farms benefit to the extent that they’re using any form of precision agriculture. The ability to have access to the internet is also going to give them the ability to properly market their grain or whatever it is they’re buying or selling on that particular day.”
Vilsack just announced a 759 million dollar, 24-state effort, including the third round of ReConnect and Infrastructure Act funding to deploy more rural high-speed internet, while a much bigger pot of infrastructure money will go to areas with little or no service.