I was honored to host a panel last week at the Department of Agriculture’s Ag Outlook Forum to showcase the impact of USDA broadband programs on so many in rural communities. Our February 25th Rural Development panel, “Building a Stronger Rural Infrastructure: Broadband,” portrayed the ripple effect these investments have.
We heard from Luis Reyes, CEO of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, which has provided electric power to consumers since WWII. They got into the broadband business because they recognized a need. Like many with a sense of community and knowledge of how broadband affects economic development, they successfully applied for Recovery Act broadband funding from USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a Rural Development agency. “This will ultimately change the landscape of New Mexico,” Luis told the audience. “This is an opportunity for us to partner with colleges, health care facilities and the community to expand businesses, hire more employees, build markets and improve healthcare. To think that a small co-op in New Mexico can turn a project into a model program nationwide is exciting.” Read more »
Plowing fiber optic cable in Northwest Kansas. (Photo courtesy of Rural Telephone)
In the days of the Great Depression, the National Recovery Act had as part of its focus the development of rural America. The primary initiatives of that era were development of electrical and telephone systems throughout the nation. Read more »
Pictured from the left are Reverend Clark Bates and wife, USDA Deputy Administrator for Rural Utilities Jessica Zufolo and former Administrator Chris McLean.
Jessica Zufolo, deputy administrator for the USDA Rural Utilities Service, was a guest speaker at the 75th anniversary of the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) celebration in McCook, Nebraska late last month. Also attending were USDA Rural Development Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul, Colorado State Director Jim Isgar, and former Administrator for the Rural Utilities Service Chris McLean along with more than 100 attendees. McLean is a former Nebraskan. Read more »
Earlier today at the New Mexico Broadband and Smart Grid Summit in Moriarty, I had the opportunity to tell policymakers, issue experts and industry leaders about Rural Utilities programs (RUS) that are contributing to creating economic opportunity and increasing energy independence through broadband and smart grid deployment.
Others speaking at the event included: National Telecommunications and Information Administration Deputy Administrator Anna Gomez, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, and Federal Smart Grid Task Force Director Eric Lightner. Together and with participants at the event, we opened a dialogue to help inform on future policy decisions regarding these important issues and the challenges we face in meeting them. Read more »
Written by Kelly Edwards Wisconsin USDA Public Information Coordinator
Today too few rural citizens are able to take advantage of the opportunities broadband provides. With broadband becoming increasingly critical for economic growth and information accessibility needs, rural counties and cities are beginning to take the initiative to develop local and regional broadband networks on their own. Read more »
By Bobby M. Goode, Tennessee State Director
Access to high speed Internet connections grows more important every day. For businesses in Rural America it can be the difference between success and layoffs.
Now a 60-year old telephone co-op and USDA Rural Development (RD) have teamed up to construct the fastest possible broadband network with fiber optic cable all the way to homes and businesses in three very rural counties on Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau. Read more »