Leaders in Agriculture, Business, Education, Housing, Health Care, Technology and Veterans Issues Urge Agency to Capitalize on Historic Opportunity to Expand Broadband and Digital Equity
May 12, 2022
Contact: Jon Conradi
Washington, D.C. — Connect Americans Now (CAN) sent a letter, co-signed by 35 organizations, to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Thursday reaffirming the importance of an all-of-the-above approach to the implementation of federal broadband programs to connect as many Americans as swiftly and cost-effectively as possible as the agency finalizes funding guidance for states.
The letter, addressed to Administrator Alan Davidson, encourages NTIA to maximize the positive impact of the historic resources made available for broadband deployments through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act by ensuring an all-of-the-above approach that allows providers flexibility to rapidly connect as many unserved people as possible across America’s diverse communities and terrains. Co-signers of the letter include ACT | The App Association, American Seed Trade Association, American Telemedicine Association, ArcherDanielsMidland (ADM), BroadbandNow, College Possible, Corteva, Council for Affordable and Rural Housing, The Final Mile Project, Gigabit Libraries Network, Midwest Food Products Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Grange, National Rural Education Association, National Veteran Small Business Coalition, OCHIN, Student Veterans of America and Voices for Innovation, among others.
“As the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) prepares to finalize guidance, draft rules and issue notices of funding opportunities to states regarding broadband resources in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), Connect Americans Now (CAN) and the co-signed organizations encourage you to safeguard an all-of-the-above approach to broadband technology and deployment,” the letter states. “Not only is an all-of-the-above approach consistent with the intent of Congress and the statutes of the legislation, but this approach is key to maximizing the positive impact of the IIJA broadband programs by giving states and broadband providers the flexibility they need to connect unserved and underserved communities in every part of the country.”
“CAN has been encouraged to see leaders in the administration, including you and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, affirm your commitment to flexibility, an all-of-the-above approach and the prioritization of unserved communities first over the past few months…” the letter continues. “… Our coalition of advocates for eliminating the digital divide has also welcomed and applauded your repeated commitment to ensuring states and broadband providers have the flexibility needed, including in regard to technology, to maximize the reach of federal broadband resources…”
“… By avoiding picking technological winners and losers and allowing broadband providers to determine what technologies best serve a given community, it allows them to determine how best to deploy networks cost-effectively and efficiently. Given the size of the fund, this will maximize the impact of each dollar by allowing cost-effective technologies to serve the hardest to serve, unserved areas — helping ensure more resources are available to also reach underserved areas,” the letter adds. “This approach will also allow for rapid deployment of networks and reduce the likelihood of over-building — thereby maximizing the impact of the funding and the number of Americans with access to broadband. Ultimately, with limited resources, it’s critical to put a plan in place that reaches as many people as possible with broadband and reduces the likelihood that another generation may grow up without broadband.”
“… We encourage NTIA to establish guidance and guardrails to ensure that approach is followed in practice in order to capitalize on this historic opportunity, stay true to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and maximize the reach and effectiveness of broadband deployments,” the letter concludes.
Read the full letter HERE.
The full list of co-signers on the CAN letter includes:
National and Regional Organizations
ACT | The App Association
American Seed Trade Association
American Telemedicine Association
Connect Americans Now
Council for Affordable and Rural Housing
The Final Mile Project
Gigabit Libraries Network
Midwest Food Products Association
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
National Rural Education Association
National Veteran Small Business Coalition
Student Veterans of America
Voices for Innovation
State and Local Organizations
California Telehealth Network
Chehalem Valley Innovation Accelerator
Greater Grenada Partnership
Mississippi Hospitality & Restaurant Association
Montana Rural Education Association
Northwoods Association of REALTORS
Oregon Association of Nurseries
Oregon Cattlemen’s Association
Oregon Dairy Farmers Association
Oregon Hop Growers Association
Oregon State Chamber of Commerce
Oregon Water Resources Congress
Telehealth Alliance of Oregon
Thomas County Economic Development Alliance
Wisconsin Corn Growers Association
Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association
Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance
Founded in 2017, Connect Americans Now (CAN) is a broad-based coalition representing leading voices in agriculture, education, health care, veterans’ issues, technology, small business and more — committed to urgent action to completely eliminate the digital divide in every American community.
Read CAN’s February comment letter on NTIA Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) broadband programs, co-signed by 36 organizations, HERE.
Read more on CAN and our mission HERE.