President Donald Trump plans to unveil further details about his rural broadband expansion strategy during a speech he will give at this afternoon’s 99th annual American Farm Bureau Federation convention in Nashville, Tennessee.
In June, Trump proclaimed that improving broadband availability in rural areas is part of his $1 trillion infrastructure plan he submitted to Congress, enabling smaller towns and cities to improve connectivity and their economic status.
Farm lobbies say lower broadband adoption rates are stalling economic development efforts for local farmers.
Rural broadband expansion continues to be a challenge and opportunity for the service provider community. In 2016, the Department of Agriculture offered millions in incentives to carriers that invest in bringing broadband to rural areas.
Despite the creation of new programs like the Connect America Fund, the FCC said that 53% of rural communities still can’t get broadband service.
Calls to enhance rural broadband connectivity by lawmakers have continued to grow louder. The co-chairs of the Senate Broadband Caucus and 43 of their fellow senators—as well as the co-chairs of the House Rural Broadband Caucus and 65 of their colleagues—signed letters urging Trump to include broadband within any forthcoming infrastructure initiative.
Appealing to rural communities is important to the president where he has enjoyed a loyal following. According to reports, he defeated Hillary Clinton by a nearly two-to-one margin in rural and small-town communities.
FierceTelecom will cover Trump's speech this afternoon at 2:30.