Tuesday, March 02, 2021

A mix of technologies and public/private partnerships are needed to expand rural broadband

"To expand broadband to more rural areas, a mix of different technologies and public/private partnerships are going to need to be used in the future. Major issues with accurate mapping of where broadband is and high costs associated with high speed internet are a few obstacles that must be overcome to expand high-speed in rural areas," Russ Quinn reports for DTN/The Progressive Farmer. "These were some of the topics discussed at the 'Connectivity in Rural America' session at the USDA's 97th Annual Agricultural Outlook Forum last week. A panel discussion followed three virtual presentations discussing how important rural broadband is and ways to improve the technology."

Rural broadband mostly comes from buried fiber-optic cables, but not all rural areas have that, which creates two tiers of service in some areas. Mo Shakouri, director of Community Broadband Initiative for Joint Venture Silicon Valley, said advancing 5G wireless technology will help get broadband to remote areas, Quinn reports. Though fiber must be part of the solution, it's too expensive to connect spread-out rural homes to fiber, Shakouri said.

Read here for more perspectives and ideas from speakers at the forum.

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