January 21, 2018 - Last week, rural broadband expansion was a topic on the minds of many policy-makers following President Trump’s speech at the 99th Annual Farm Bureau convention where he signed two executive orders promoting deployment. On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai floated a plan that would invest $500 million in broadband deployment aimed at closing the broadband gap between rural and urban America. "We need more deployment in sparsely populated rural areas if we're going to extend digital opportunity to all Americans," Pai said in a statement. Pai’s order hasn’t yet been introduced and details on the plan, beyond the topline number, have not been made public.
Representative Greg Walden (R-Oregon), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) announced this week that they are close to introducing legislation that will facilitate broadband deployment in rural areas. If Representatives Walden and Blackburn follow the same template as previous legislation, their proposal will include language to cut regulation, invest in broadband technology, and invest in emergency telecommunications. Source: Rural County Representatives of California