U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement regarding the American Broadband Initiative Milestones Report:
“Last year, I presented the findings of the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to President Trump at the American Farm Bureau Federation Convention. The report showed how broadband e-connectivity is essential for achieving rural prosperity in the 21st Century, and it has guided work across the U.S. government this past year. The American Broadband Initiative Milestones Report reflects that work on behalf of taxpayers and displays the federal government’s commitment as a strong business partner to the private sector in deploying broadband infrastructure. The American Broadband Initiative also reaffirms this Administration’s commitment to reducing regulatory barriers and improving the quality of life for those living in rural America.
“Reliable broadband is critical for nearly every aspect of life, from education to health care to agriculture and beyond. By working across the federal government and by harnessing public-private partnerships as USDA has done for decades, we are doing all we can to bring reliable, affordable broadband to homes, farms, ranches, schools, and healthcare sites throughout rural America.”
On April 25, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order establishing the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity “to ensure the informed exercise of regulatory authority that impacts agriculture and rural communities.” As Secretary of Agriculture, Perdue served as the task force’s chairman and identified over 100 recommendations to help improve life in rural America. The recommendations centered around these five areas: E-Connectivity, Quality of Life, Rural Workforce, Technology, and Economic Development.
The American Broadband Initiative Milestones Report is a product of the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity and outlines a vision for how the Federal Government can increase broadband access and actions that Agencies are taking to increase private-sector investment in broadband. Previous attempts to expand broadband connectivity have made progress and provided valuable lessons that guide this initiative. The report’s recommendations are grouped into three categories: streamlining federal permitting processes to speed broadband deployment, leveraging federal assets to lower the cost of broadband buildouts, and maximizing the impact of federal funding.