Pandemic Likely to Speed Up Rural Internet Investment

The head of the Rural Broadband Association says the COVID pandemic has spotlighted who is connected and who is not, and she expects it to continue to be a national priority with President-elect Joe Biden.

“That glaring gap of where you were able to access the technology really hit home,” said CEO Shirley Bloomfield. “When I talk to members of Congress, they would say it is the first thing that comes up in a townhall.”

The $900 billion COVID relief package passed by Congress in December included a $7 billion broadband internet investment. The bill sets aside funding to help low-income families pay for reliable internet service and included millions for telehealth and creating up-to-date broadband coverage maps.

Bloomfield said broadband has enjoyed bipartisan support through the ReConnect Program, which has invested more than a billion dollars since 2018. She expects the new administration to invest between $20 and $80 billion, based on preliminary discussions.

Source: Brownfield Ag News,