The omnibus spending bill will provide USDA with $600 million to fund rural broadband grants.
What's making this notable is that many have measured much of the discussion around rural broadband to be mostly focused on anchor institutions in rural areas (this includes hospitals, schools, libraries). With the new provisions, the money is being administrated by USDA to have grants allocated specifically for farms.
“It is unacceptable that millions of people in rural America currently lack access to reliable broadband,” Secretary Perdue said. “I have travelled extensively across the nation and everywhere I go I have heard how important increased broadband is to rural Americans. Reliable and affordable internet e-connectivity truly is the key to productivity in the 21st Century and I’m pleased Congress recognized this need and has provided this critical funding.”
According to the Federal Communications Commission, 80% of the 24 million American households that do not have reliable, affordable high-speed internet are in rural areas.