Congressman Rick Boucher—Honorary Chair of the Internet Innovation Alliance, who served Virginia’s 9th congressional district, which includes rural, mountainous areas—recently spoke with National Grange President Betsy Huber about the need to close the access portion of the digital divide by bringing broadband to unserved communities throughout the United States, primarily in rural America. National Grange is a member of the Internet Innovation Alliance. Check out their discussion by watching the video clips below!
Where does the deployment of broadband in Rural America stand on the list of priorities for the National Grange? What implications for rural lifestyles could be expected from accelerated use of broadband?
How important is it to create precise broadband maps that provide a more granular view of where connectivity exists? Should we wait to provide substantial funding until the maps are complete? Where should the money come from to fill the accessibility gaps in Rural America? Should the funding only go to unserved areas? How should the allocation of funds occur, such as through the Federal Communication Commission’s reverse auction process?
Are policymakers aware of the tremendous economic benefits that derive from broadband investments? Has the pandemic increased the national awareness of the broadband gap in rural areas?
What is the National Grange’s position on the consolidation of the various programs focused on broadband deployment into one FCC-administered program?
Are farmers beginning to use precision agriculture in a meaningful way? What are the two or three most useful applications of precision agriculture from the National Grange’s perspective?
What should policymakers be looking at related to broadband that has escaped their attention thus far or that deserves a higher priority?