This week, the USDA pledged about $145.8 million in rural-broadband spending in seven states.
Donald (DJ) LaVoy, Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), announced Tuesday (Jan. 28) the agency had invested $60.9 million in high-speed broadband infrastructure to create or enhance connectivity for more than 11,000 rural households, 81 farms, 73 businesses, 16 educational facilities, 12 "critical community facilities" and two healthcare providers in rural Missouri.
Building on Ramps to the Future
Rural areas in multiple states, including Kentucky, will soon see higher broadband speeds, opening up their homes and businesses to new operator services like managed WiFi; managed security; and cloud-based, IoT-focused offerings of today and tomorrow.
(Source: Photo by Brandon Randolph, Pexels)
This marked the debut of first-round funding in USDA's ReConnect Pilot Program, which offers loans and grants to operators, ISPs and other service providers delivering high-speed broadband to unserved and underserved rural areas of the United States.
The ReConnect Pilot also is available to providers in:
Louisiana: Announced on Jan. 28 by USDA Rural Development Louisiana State Director Roy Holleman, this $15.5-million project will create or improve rural e-Connectivity for 2,609 rural households, 12 pre-subscribed businesses and 16 pre-subscribed farms in Iberville, Pointe Coupee and St. Landry parishes/
Missouri: LaVoy said $60.9 million would go to improve the state's broadband infrastructure, serving 11,000-plus rural households, 81 farms, 73 businesses, 16 educational facilities, 12 critical community facilities and two healthcare facilities.
Kentucky: That same day, LaVoy said the Bluegrass State had received $55.3 million to improve or provide (for the first time) high-speed, high bandwidth and low latency connectivity to more than 12,250 rural households and nearly 100 farms and businesses across Kentucky and northern Tennessee.
Arizona:USDA Rural Development Arizona State Director Jack Smith said 1,492 rural households, 27 pre-subscribed businesses, six educational facilities, four pre-subscribed farms, three critical community facilities and a health care center would find their broadband infrastructure and services benefit from an infusion of $1.6 million.
Maine: Today, LaVoy announced a $9.87 million investment in rural, coastal and island areas of Maine. The high-speed infrastructure funds will support more than 4,527 households and 215 businesses.
Dipping into the pool of opportunities
To help operators, co-ops and other providers consider their options for ReConnect participation (especially if looking at traditional trenching methods for rolling out fiber in unfriendly ground), USDA gives prospective partners a map by Arcgis and ESRI to track data about the status of their requests, competitors' standings and more.
USDA broke down the information by 100% grants (under review and approved); 100% loans (under review and approved); and 50% grant, 50% loan under both stages of the approval process.
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It wasn't long ago that TV was ranked by subscribers as the most important service in the bundle provided by their communications service provider (CSP). Recent research indicates that for nearly three quarters of subscribers, broadband is now the most important service. Broadcast TV is the most important service to only 15% of North American consumers, replaced by OTT video streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+. In addition, many different competitors are moving aggressively to stake a claim in consumers' homes.
In 2020, CSPs need to fight back by transforming their business models, which are becoming more reliant on a single source of revenue: fixed broadband services.
This webinar will focus on helping CSPs transform their business models by placing a firm focus on delivering a sensational subscriber experience and by offering compelling new services that generate value for subscribers. These actions will reinforce the CSP's strategic position in the home network and position themselves for growth in the next decade.
Key topics include:
Being the first to market with WiFi 6 technology, in response to consumer purchases of new devices over the holidays;
Having the insights needed to proactively resolve issues, often before your subscribers even know that there are issues;
Providing help desk agents with the visibility they need to resolve common subscriber issues more quickly;
Delivering a mobile app, in response to consumer demands for the ability to do some things themselves, rather than having to call technical support; and
Addressing consumer concerns around device security, privacy and control with enhanced security and parental controls.
In this insightful Light Reading radio show, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will outline the key service provider challenges, deployment considerations, next-gen Gigabit technologies, and service models to win market share in the rapidly growing MDU market.