A topic gaining momentum in government is the expansion of rural broadband access.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture and many others are exploring the best ways to make sure people in rural areas have reliable and fast internet connectivity. Congressman Rodney Davis is among a group now joining the cause. He says his goal is to make sure dollars appropriated towards broadband expansion are being used appropriately.
According to Davis, this is something the government cannot fix on its own. While they can distribute money, it has to be something taken to the finish by local governments and their companies.
According to a letter from Davis and his colleagues to Congress, this year, USDA began accepting applications for the first round of ReConnect grant and loan awards.
In this first application cycle, we saw approximately a three to one ratio in funding sought to funds available. Given the demand for this program, they are urging Senate and House Appropriators to include robust funding for a rural broadband loan and grant programs in the final Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations package.
They believe support for programs such as ReConnect and the 2018 Farm Bill broadband loan and grant program is critical to address the ‘digital divide’ and ensure that our rural communities have equal access to opportunity.