USDA has submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission to support development of the National Broadband Plan based on USDA’s considerable experience in financing broadband projects in rural areas. The FCC is implementing the plan to guide broadband deployment nationwide.
“Robust economic growth and job creation in rural America depend on the quality and reach of broadband networks, where distance and density restrain economic activity,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Broadband networks create economic opportunity and open unparalleled access to health care, educational, cultural and public safety services essential for over 50 million Americans who live in rural areas.”
Jonathan Adelstein, USDA’s Rural Utilities Service administrator, submitted a letter in which he offered to make RUS data available to the FCC as the independent regulatory agency evaluates policy options to advance broadband deployment. He noted that RUS loan financing to rural telecommunications providers is “dependent on sufficient, specific and predictable revenues to ensure that all Americans enjoy the benefits of modern telecommunications technology.”