Pandemic brings attention to rural broadband deficiencies

News

Pandemic brings attention to rural broadband deficiencies

Broadband access remains insufficient for many in rural America.

And northern Minnesota cow/calf rancher Miles Kuschel tells Brownfield the COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated the issue.

“If it’s given us an insight into one thing, it’s the absolute need for high-speed broadband across all of Rural America. Whether it’s distance learning, telemedicine, Zoom conferences or annual meetings.”

Kuschel is a district director for Minnesota Farm Bureau and says at the state and national level, Farm Bureau has made rural broadband a priority.

“Definitely a big help because the legislators are hearing it loud and clear, and (they) are also experiencing the frustrations when it comes to rural broadband. Especially when you have a remote legislative session like they’re participating in right now.”

American Farm Bureau supports using the Universal Service Fund as well as a combination of tax incentives and grants to expand broadband deployment to rural areas.

The Universal Service Fund is a system of telecommunications subsidies and fees managed by the Federal Communications Commission.