By Rusty Halvorson
American Ag Network
Just one week after its national launch, Connect Americans Now (CAN) hosted a community forum with U.S. Congressman Kevin Cramer on the coalition’s plan to unleash new technology that promises to help eliminate North Dakota’s digital divide by 2022.
“From students to small business owners and farmers, life on the wrong side of the digital divide is a daily struggle for many people in America,” said Cramer, Chairman of the House Rural Broadband Caucus. “That is why we are leading the charge to ensure that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allows TV white space technology to deliver broadband in underserved areas, and I am thrilled to join with rural advocates like CAN who are working to cast a spotlight on this important issue.”
To provide affordable and reliable service in rural communities, CAN seeks to deploy a combination of “wired” and “wireless” technologies, including fiber-based, satellite and wireless technologies, leveraging a range of frequencies including TV white spaces. To make this plan a reality, CAN is urging the FCC to ensure that three channels below 700 MHz are available for wireless use on an unlicensed basis in every market in the country, with additional TV white spaces in smaller markets and rural areas.
“A broadband connection is as pivotal as electricity in the 21st Century economy, but 23.4 million rural Americans are stuck in the dark,” said Richard T. Cullen, Executive Director of CAN. “Congressman Cramer has been an outstanding champion for this cause, and we are grateful for his leadership on efforts to deploy TV white space technology. This forum is a vital step toward raising awareness of technological solutions that will deliver broadband to thousands of North Dakotan families, and we look forward to a continued dialogue with members of the Rural Broadband Caucus and other leaders on this important issue.”
Implications of the Digital Divide in North Dakota and Around the U.S.
About Connect Americans Now
Connect Americans Now is a group of concerned citizens, local organizations, rural advocates and leading innovators committed to eliminating the digital divide that is holding back rural America. Our goal is to bring rural Americans who currently lack connectivity safe and affordable broadband access by 2022 so they can take advantage of the economic and educational opportunities that exist in other communities.