The American Farm Bureau Federation is urging Congress to help ensure rural Americans have the same access to high-speed broadband internet services that Americans in more populated areas enjoy. H.R. 5828, the Universal Service Reform Act of 2010, would declare broadband internet a universal service, which would allow for direct support from the Universal Service Fund. AFBF President Bob Stallman says the USF should be used for long-term broadband deployment.
In a letter to Representatives Rick Boucher and Cliff Stearns, the chairman and ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Communication, Technology and the Internet, Stallman wrote that affordability is a critical component to broadband use in rural America.
"In rural areas where broadband service is available; our members have reported the service is beyond the financial means of many residents of their communities," Stallman said.
Stallman called high-speed broadband internet "vital" for rural Americans to access educational, medical, business and government services. He said passage of H.R. 5828 would develop a new cost model for universal support, which would make broadband more affordable to rural Americans.