Did you know reliable internet is still a dream for people in the rural US? According to a Federal Communications Commission report, over 39% of Americans living in rural areas lack proper internet connectivity. People living in far-flung regions of Kansas, Texas, and other states have no access to even basic broadband services. However, with the help of recent laws, high-speed internet may soon be a reality for rural Americans too.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law proposed by the Biden administration is a significant example. This legislation has proposed a whopping $65 billion investment to ensure internet access to every American. With this law, even rural citizens will have reliable high-speed internet. The Bipartisan law also proposes lower operational and data costs for internet services to bridge the connectivity gap.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is one of the governmental agencies making major strides on this issue. According to a recent press release, the agency plans to provide $759 million to improve internet connectivity in 24 US states. This plan also includes Guam and Puerto Rico, and Palam.
Initially, the plan only included a $401 million investment. The scope was also comparatively contracted, focusing only on 11 US states. However, since then, the USDA has received a considerable boost from the Biden-Harris plan.
One of the major proposed operations is the ReConnect Program. This investment plans to provide high-strength internet services to areas with less than 100 mb/s download and 20 mb/s upload speed. The ReConnect Program aims to offer at least 100 mb/s upload/download strength for rural areas.
Additionally, the USDA also has stakes in several investments promoting connectivity across US states. For example, the body plans to promote high-speed internet in rural, socially vulnerable, and tribal communities in places like
- North Dakota
These investments are to be filtered primarily through the ReConnect Program. The money will go to broadband providers who pass the verification. For example, Eastern Slope Rural Telephone Association will receive the $18 million contract for Colorado. This provider will then reinvest this award to install a fiber-to-the-premises based service for the rural regions around counties
- Kit Carson
This system will connect 110 businesses, 898 farms, and 17 educational institutions in these regions. In total, the USDA plans to provide high-speed internet to at least 31,000 households and businesses in rural America.
Similarly, Tekstar Communications is at the receiving end of the FCC’s Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Programs. The service provider will get a $12.6 million grant to deploy a high-speed internet network to connect thousands of people in Minnesota. This project will cover 171 farms and 103 businesses in counties
- Otter Tail
- St. Louis
- Todd counties
Additionally, following the government’s stance on low-cost data, Tekstar will also make its high-speed internet affordable. Its “Gig for Life” service aims to make high-speed internet accessible to all. With this program, households that sign up for internet service will not have their data prices raised if they do not change their address and service provider.
Programs like these make a significant difference because USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack notes that only 72% of the rural population has proper internet connectivity. This figure is even lower in economically/socially vulnerable regions. Here the rate may slip down to 63%. Vilsack says improved connectivity can offer rural Americans “access to the entire world – a global market, if you will.”
Additionally, introducing high-speed internet to rural areas can have several benefits. According to the USDA official, proper connectivity will help farmers and ranchers learn more about their land. More information can help them use their land more efficiently. High-speed internet in the rural US also allows schools to connect to classes in other regions.
Not all institutions can afford Advanced Placement teachers; proper connectivity can help overcome this. Moreover, high speed introducing high-speed internet in rural regions can also help businesses expand their customer base.
These measures attempt to meet the connectivity needs of people in the rural US. The Bipartisan Infrastructure law is a step towards providing rural Americans with faster, cheaper internet. In addition, these improvements will provide them with basic facilities like remote working, news access, online shopping, and more.
For now, if you want access to reliable high-speed internet in rural areas, try out one of our data SIM-only plans.