WASHINGTON--The Coronavirus outbreak is emphasizing the need for internet broadband access on the farm.
Access to health care websites and medical alerts, internet shopping, are now more vital than ever. The flu outbreak shows the dire need for high-speed internet across the country.
The Farm Bureau’s Congressional Relations Director, says rural America lacks quality internet connections.
“Broadband is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity for farmers, for ranchers, for rural communities. Rural Americans rely on broadband for distance learning, they rely on broadband for telemedicine. We’ve seen a drastic decline in primary care physicians throughout rural America, so the high-speed connection that broadband provides is a quality of life standard for Rural America", said Karney.
Karney says a recent bill passed by the House and Senate will better direct funds to improve rural broadband. “Earlier this week, the Senate passed the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act. This bill would improve the accuracy of broadband coverage maps and better direct federal funds for broadband buildout by creating more granular, transparent accountability within broadband access maps,” said Karney.
Karney says the coronavirus outbreak response represents a real-time case study on the need for adequate rural broadband.
“We’re seeing more and more schools begin to shutter their doors and relying on internet access to continue to teach the students. Unfortunately for rural students who do not have access, these are severe limitations for them to continue their education. Farm Bureau remains focused on working with members of Congress and this administration to achieve the needs of rural America when it comes to broadband deployment,” Karney said.
For farmers and ranchers in rural America, broadband access is now a lifeline more than ever.