Trump: Rural Broadband Will Be Part of Infrastructure Package

President Donald Trump says he is going to empower America's farmers, including by investing in boosting rural broadband to help level the field, as well as the playing field. 

The President was speaking at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa and was just the latest Washington voice to weigh in on rural broadband in a week filled with Hill hearings that either drilled down or touched on the subject. 

"We must insure that [agriculture] students have the broadband internet access they need in order to succeed and thrive in this very new and very changed economy, and world," he told the students.

As one example, he said he had seen how farmers can adjust application rates of fertilizers "with just the touch of a smartphone."

"That is why I will be including a provision in our $1 trillion infrastructure proposal to promote, foster and enhance broadband access for RURAL [emphasis his] America," he added.

He said Wall Street wants internet access "badly," but so do farmers "and you're going to have it."

Trump's pick for FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, has said closing the rural digital divide is a priority for him and the commission. In addition, Hill Democrats have proposed a $40 billion broadband element in their infrastructure legislative proposal.

The President did not say how much rural broadband would be getting.

“I am grateful to President Trump for his leadership on expanding high-speed Internet access in rural America," said Pai of the President's rural broadband pledge. "Far too many families and businesses in rural communities do not have access to adequate broadband, limiting their opportunities in the digital age. Closing the digital divide needs to be a national priority, and the President’s decision to include rural broadband in his infrastructure plan holds great promise for creating more jobs and prosperity in our nation’s rural areas.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.