As a longtime advocate of rural broadband access, Carlson congratulates the U.S. Senate on amending the broadband section of the farm bill to better support the efforts of the Rural Utilities Service (RUS).
The amendment encourages competitive bidding for broadband loans and grants, replacing the previous rolling application process.
More importantly, it focuses grant funding on the regions that are currently unserved and designates minimum broadband speeds for projects (4 Mb/s down, 1 Mb/s up). The amendment also sets up a structured system of accountability for loan and grant recipients.
The farm bill would double the amount of money the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sets aside each year for rural broadband to $50 million, and the amended rules guarantee that government funding will find its way to the people who really need it, opening up a world of economic and social opportunity for rural communities.
The goal of getting broadband to the last mile continues to guide Carlson’s research and development. Our interest in rural broadband was the driving force that led us to develop the world’s first affordable broadband solution using TV white space technology, the first non-line-of-sight (NLOS) wireless technology that can effectively deliver broadband to residents in remote regions.