Federal Communications Commission
U.S. Department of Agriculture445 12th Street, S.W.
1400 Independence Ave. SW
Washington, D. C. 20554
Washington, D.C. 20250
This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).
NEWS MEDIA CONTACTS:
June 22, 2011
FCC: Mark Wigfield, 202-418-0253
USDA: (202) 720-4623
Report Places Emphasis on Need for Broadband in Rural America
WASHINGTON --The Department of Agriculture (USDA) today joined the Federal
Communication Commission (FCC) in releasing a report to Congress entitled, "Bringing
Broadband to Rural America: Update to Report on a Rural Broadband Strategy," for placing new
emphasis on the need to support the delivery of broadband to rural communities.
The report, prepared by the FCC in consultation with USDA's Rural Utilities Service (RUS),
noted that broadband deployment and adoption remains a top priority for the Obama
Administration through ongoing loan and grant programs administered by RUS and regulatory
reform measures and tools set forth by the FCC. However, more needs to be done to fulfill the
Administration's objective for widespread deployment of affordable, quality broadband services
to every community.
"The FCC's report confirms the need to continue the Administration's comprehensive
investments and policy framework to ensure that rural communities and tribal nations enjoy the
same access to the economic, educational, health care and public safety opportunities and
services that broadband delivers in urbanized communities," said RUS Administrator Jonathan
Adelstein. "Financing available through a broad range of USDA programs is essential for
economic growth, including jobs, in the parts of the country still waiting for the benefits
"While we have made significant progress, the report shows that approximately 28 percent of
rural residents still lack access to the kind of broadband that most Americans take for granted,"
said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. "That is not acceptable, and it's why the FCC has
launched major initiatives to overhaul our universal service system, free more spectrum, and
reduce barriers to broadband deployment. These efforts will help ensure that high-speed Internet
can connect rural communities to global markets, jobs, and world-class education and health
The White House earlier this month announced the establishment of a Rural Council to
strengthen rural communities and promote economic growth. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
will chair the council, which will promote job creation and economic development by focusing
on key factors for growth, including broadband.
RUS, part of the Rural Development mission area, has funded broadband through its Farm Bill
loan program since 2002, and broadband capability through its traditional telecommunications
infrastructure program since 1995. Since publication of the FCC's 2009 broadband report, RUS
has invested over $5 billion in funding for broadband, including approximately $1.5 billion in
loans for telecommunications infrastructure that is broadband capable, $13.4 million in grants for
broadband in remote rural areas, $71 million in distance learning and telemedicine grants, and
$3.5 billion in broadband funding awarded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
The FCC released a National Broadband Plan in 2010 providing sweeping recommendations for
all of government and the private sector for tackling the great infrastructure challenge of the 21st
Century: universal, robust broadband that helps the nation accomplishes its key priorities.
Since then, the FCC has made significant progress on its broadband agenda.
A 2008 USDA study by the USDA Economic Research Service noted that rural economies
benefit from broadband availability. According to the USDA study, "Broadband Internet's Value
for Rural America," evidence suggests that the broadband loan program administered by RUS
stimulated broadband deployment in rural areas.
Read the FCC's blog on the Rural Broadband Report, along with a further statement by
Chairman Genachowski. For more information on USDA's broadband loan and grant programs,
please visit www.rurdev.usda.gov.