Why Trump’s Executive Order Should Mean Connecting Rural America Now

Contact: Jessica Denson, Communications Mgr.            For Immediate Release
Email: jdenson@connectednation.org                            May 1, 2017                             
Phone number: 502-341-2024
Website: connectednation.org

Why Trump’s Executive Order Should Mean Connecting Rural America Now

Bowling Green, Ky. (May 1, 2017) – President Trump signed an Executive Order this week entitled “Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America.” This order brought rural America to the forefront with a focus on technology, economic opportunities, and easing regulations that harm rural areas, and for those of us at Connected Nation, it’s a sign that our country may finally prioritize the need to connect rural America for the benefit of the entire country.

“Connected Nation has long been committed to helping families, small communities, the agricultural industry, and others living in rural-and urban-America to obtain broadband access that others in our country have and are able to use in their day-to-day lives,” Lindsay Conrad, Director of Public Policy for Connected Nation, said.

“To not have this access means not having access to jobs and educational opportunities, programs to help stimulate businesses, and healthcare. All of which improve the quality of life and standards of living for each individual.  From Connected Nation’s point-of-view this new Executive Order is an opportunity to cross the Digital Divide and help these families, rural communities, and farmers,” Conrad added.

“I understand people may ask – why does access matter? To put it simply, not having broadband access means being left out of a connected nation and global economy. Families don’t have access to simple things that many of us take for granted, even just ordering a hard-to-find product, or filling out a job application. Imagine how these little things can help a single mom or dad struggling to raise their children?  Well, there are a hundred little ways a lack of technology access can add up and really hurt families, small community businesses, and our nation’s farmers,” Eric Frederick, Vice President of Community Affairs for Connected Nation, explained. 

The order establishes an Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity, led by newly appointed Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue—a former two-term Republican Governor from Georgia—and also includes well-informed members such as the Chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai. The Task Force will spend 180 days studying issues in rural America and develop recommendations for legislative and regulatory remedies “to promote in rural America agriculture, economic development, job growth, infrastructure improvements, technological innovation, energy security, and quality of life.”

In one such rural area of the country, Northern Michigan, Connected Nation recently conducted surveys of small businesses (which include businesses with less than 15 employees) with the hopes of understanding the technology challenges and greater opportunities through broadband a small business in rural America may hope to experience.

In another study, Connected Nation found that broadband use in rural America is vital and extremely varied; 19.2% of farmers in northern Michigan use technology for variable rate irrigation, 57.9% have implemented a digital farm management system, 38.4% use the Internet daily to market their business, 11.4% use the Internet daily to participate in a virtual marketplace, and 23.1% use the Internet daily to network with other farmers.

By taking a deeper look at a variety of issues including broadband access and use in our nation’s non-urban areas, the White House can help to bring greater growth and income to rural America. Connected Nation remains committed to these issues for the communities it serves and is excited for the future opportunities this Executive Order plans to bring.

Related Links:
President Trump’s Executive Order

Small Business (N. Michigan) Infographic

Agriculture Infographic

Connected Nation Blog

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About Connected Nation: Connected Nation is a leading technology organization committed to bringing affordable high-speed Internet and broadband-enabled resources to all Americans so no one is left on the wrong side of the “Digital Divide.”

Connected Nation works with consumers, local community leaders, states, technology providers, and foundations to develop and implement technology expansion programs with core competencies centered on a mission to improve digital inclusion for people and places previously underserved or overlooked. For more information, please visit: www.connectednation.org/. Follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter.


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