February 11, 2020
Coalition Notes Technology-Neutral Investments That Utilize Hybrid Networks, Cost-Effective Innovations Will Be Critical to Closing the Digital Divide
Washington, D.C. – Connect Americans Now (CAN), Executive Director Richard T. Cullen released the following statement regarding proposed funding for rural broadband connectivity in President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget.
“Connect Americans Now commends the administration’s commitment to supporting broadband deployments in rural communities to eliminate the digital divide,” Cullen said. “CAN looks forward to continuing to work with policymakers, on both sides of the aisle, to support broadband investments that remain technology neutral and capitalize on hybrid networks to effectively reach the most Americans.”
The budget proposal includes a proposed $25 billion “Revitalizing Rural America” infrastructure grant program that would be used, in part, to fund broadband deployments. The White House budget also funds broadband investments administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS) with a proposed $250 million for the ReConnect pilot program and $690 million for broadband loans. The budget proposes an additional $13.5 million for broadband deployments through the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
In addition, the budget includes language supportive of using funds raised through Federal Communications Commission (FCC) spectrum auctions to “expand broadband in unserved rural areas.