From the US Dept. of Agriculture:
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA has funded three rural telecommunications infrastructure projects that will improve broadband service in portions of rural Arkansas, Iowa and New Mexico. This announcement coincides with the news that the President Obama signed a new Presidential Memorandum to create the Broadband Opportunity Council, co-chaired by Secretary Vilsack and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.
“These telecommunications providers will deliver enhanced broadband services to help attract and grow businesses, as well as to improve educational and health care services,” Vilsack said. “Time and again, studies show that affordable broadband offers increased economic opportunities in rural areas, which is why Rural Development is committed to delivering high-speed internet service to these communities.”
New Today From The White House
From the Fact Sheet:
Today the President signed a new Presidential Memorandum making good on his promise in Cedar Falls to stand up a new Council singularly focused on increasing broadband investment and adoption.
- The Council, co-chaired by the Secretaries of Commerce and Agriculture, includes over twenty-five different government agencies and components, all united around clear policy objectives to:
- Engage with industry and other stakeholders to understand ways the government can better support the needs of communities seeking broadband investment;
- Identify regulatory barriers unduly impeding broadband deployment or competition;
- Survey and report back on existing programs that currently support or could be modified to support broadband competition, deployment or adoption; and
- Take all necessary actions to remove these barriers and re-align existing programs to increase broadband competition, deployment, and adoption.
- The Council will report back to the President, within 150 days, with the steps each agency will take to advance these goals, including specific regulatory actions or budget proposals.
- These steps will build on and expand several actions agencies have already taken during this Administration, such as developing a common application form for wireless broadband providers to lease space for their rooftop antennas, sharing of best practices for “dig once” policies by state and municipal governments nationwide, and offering new online tools for finding and leasing federal assets available for broadband networks.