The White House has made two key announcements related to U.S. broadband policy. First, President Obama has created the Broadband Opportunity Council which will focus on increasing broadband investment and adoption. The council will be co-chaired by the Secretaries of Commerce and Agriculture, and will include over 25 different government agencies and components. Second, the President has declared that 98 percent of Americas have access to 4th Generation (4G) mobile broadband service. This conclusion is based on newly released data from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
Concurrent with the White House announcement, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that its Rural Utilities Service is providing $35 million in broadband infrastructure loans for broadband projects in Arkansas, Iowa, and New Mexico. The funding breaks out as follows:
- Southwest Arkansas Telephone will receive a $25 million loan to upgrade its network to fiber.
- Mescalero Apache Telecom in New Mexico will receive a $5.4 million loan to upgrade its network and deploy fiber to approximately 50 percent of its service territory.
- Iowa’s Minburn Communications will receive a $4.7 million loan to upgrade its copper network to fiber.