Trump to unveil initiative to bring broadband to rural America

President Donald Trump plans to unveil an agricultural initiative seeking to bring broadband to rural America based on a report by the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity on Monday. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Jan. 8 (UPI) — President Donald Trump plans to unveil an agriculture initiative seeking to bring broadband Internet connection to rural America at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention.

Trump will speak alongside Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on Monday to address a report by the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity, which he established with an executive order in April.

Much of the report was built on the basis of bringing broadband Internet to rural America, Special Assistant for Technology, Telecommunications, and Cybersecurity at the National Economic Council Grace Koh said.

The FCC estimates about 39 percent of rural Americans lack access to quality broadband, which she attributed to a lack of interest from broadband providers.

“That is primarily because when you have very little incentive to build out because the costs of deployment are high, and very little promise of return because the revenue base is small, it makes it difficult to actually justify a business case for building that out,” she said. “Well, we have to change that.”

Koh said the administration plans to use federal assets, such as pre-established towers on federal lands as well as dark fiber deployed by agencies, to allow rural providers to interconnect and provide service to communities that have not had access to broadband before.

She added the administration also seeks to implement the congressional directive of 2011 by standardizing forms and contracts for antenna siting on federal buildings.

“This is something that this administration really wants to get done and make it easier for broadband providers to get out there to know with certainty what the process will be for collocating antennas on federal buildings,” Koh said.

Trump is also expected to address NAFTA and the expiring farm bill while speaking at the 99th annual America at the American Farm Bureau Federation convention.


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