The president promised to improve broadband service to rural areas as part of his nationwide infrastructure plan. Bloomberg says it would take roughly $80 billion to expand broadband to all rural areas in America that need it.
However, Trump’s most recent spending proposals only set aside $25 million over the next ten years on rural infrastructure needs. Only 55 percent of rural residents have access to broadband with speeds faster than 25 megabits per second, which is the government’s standard for adequate service. That compares with 94 percent in urban areas across the country. Advocates say increasing broadband access is necessary for improving economic growth.
For example, farm equipment now comes with the ability to remotely troubleshoot problems no matter where you are in the country. However, farmers need the right bandwidth available to make that happen. Farmers also can’t access the real-time data they need to make their operations more efficient. “Without it, you’re asking farmers and ranchers to run a viable business without modern technology,” says R.J. Karney, Director of Congressional Relations with the American Farm Bureau.