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Rural Electric Cooperatives Have an Important Role in Our Broadband Future

Published by Telecompetitor

(February 12, 2019) - There has been notable progress in expanding rural broadband, with both federal and state regulators taking steps to address the digital divide through legislative and funding actions. While these actions are encouraging, the United States still has a considerable amount of work to do to close the urban-rural divide and ensure that people have access to robust broadband services wherever they live and work.

The FCC’s 2018 Broadband Deployment Report illustrates this problem well. One key data point shows that 68.6% of people living in rural America have adequate access to both fixed and mobile broadband services, as opposed to 97.9% of Americans in urban areas. And while much of the discussion focuses on an urban-rural divide, there is also a divide within rural territories, with some areas receiving excellent broadband delivered by community-focused providers and cooperatives, while other nearby rural areas do not.

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