& cplSiteName &

Rural Broadband: Help or Hoax?

Carol Wilson
1/9/2018
50%
50%

Rural broadband has become a popular political talking point, but actually doing something to improve Internet connectivity in rural areas of the US seems to be, if anything, less likely under the Trump administration.

As noted in this Telecompetitor article, President Trump's presentation to the American Farm Bureau Federation stressed the importance of broadband to the rural economy and concluded with two executive orders on that topic.

The speech and the executive orders are follow-ons to this report from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity, done by the US Department of Agriculture in 2017. It listed "e-Connectivity for Rural America" as the top priority for economic development in rural America, much of which is being left behind in the move away from manufacturing and family farms. Even so, that report didn't call for major federal funding of such efforts, and even threw some shade on previous federal funding efforts, saying government policies and regulations actually stifle network buildouts and deployment processes need to be streamlined. It called for reducing government barriers and "incentivizing" private capital investment, among other things.

USDA report lists e-connectivity as number one priority.
USDA report lists e-connectivity as number one priority.

But this call comes against the backdrop of efforts by Trump's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) , led by Chairman Ajit Pai, to redefine broadband as 10 Megabits per second downstream and 1 Mbit/s upstream wireless service. That would let network operators off the hook for having to invest in broadband infrastructure that meets the FCC's earlier definition of 25 Mbit/s downstream and 4 Mbit/s upstream, which seems to be to be the opposite of "incentivizing." (See #MobileOnly Movement Targets FCC's Broadband Plans.)

All this discussion of rural broadband being important seems to come down to a cynical parroting of concern for those in rural areas who lack real broadband Internet without any real effort on their behalf. No one would argue the points the USDA task force makes about the value of broadband Internet in providing economic development opportunities along with better healthcare and education. But the very squishy recommendations and executive orders that follow don't seem to advance rural broadband in any way, and Pai's spurious dumbing down of the very definition of broadband could definitely take it backward.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/9/2018 | 4:01:32 PM
How things work
Rural America voted for the government we now have, and did so decisively. The party in power has made no secret of favoring smaller and mostly hands-off federal governance. How can there be any surprise over the probable outcome for this issue?
More Blogs from Rewired
Assuming they can get the software architecture right, open source projects represent a faster way to consensus on big issues, he says.
Legacy business services aren't that easily shed when customers resist change but service providers need to find a more aggressive path forward.
PCCW exec David Hughes eviscerates the telecom 'poor me' mindset but with a light touch, Carol Wilson writes.
New services are taking hold, as businesses overcome their trepidation over virtualization and the technology matures, says Jim Sabey.
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading founder Steve Saunders grills Cisco's Roland Acra on how he's bringing automation to life inside the data center.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
March 20-22, 2018, Denver Marriott Tech Center
March 22, 2018, Denver, Colorado | Denver Marriott Tech Center
March 28, 2018, Kansas City Convention Center
April 4, 2018, The Westin Dallas Downtown, Dallas
April 9, 2018, Las Vegas Convention Center
May 14-16, 2018, Austin Convention Center
September 25-27, 2018, Denver, Colorado
October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Net Neutrality Moves Are as Futile as Trump's Comb-Over
Iain Morris, News Editor, 1/18/2018
Samsung Plots New 5G Modem – Report
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 1/18/2018
Analyst: Verizon's Fixed 5G Is a Loss Leader for Mobile
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 1/16/2018
Europe Urges US to Block Trump on Net Neutrality
Iain Morris, News Editor, 1/22/2018
Has the 5G Upturn Begun?
Iain Morris, News Editor, 1/19/2018
Animals with Phones
I May Have an Appointment Available Later Today... Click Here
Let me check my schedule.
Live Digital Audio

A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed