Background

Today’s modern agricultural equipment require in-field wireless connectivity to fully utilize their potential. The state of wireless connectivity in rural America is inadequate. The situation will continue to worsen as equipment because more technologically advanced.

Status

The telecom industry and federal and state lawmakers and regulators fail to appreciate how tech intensive modern agriculture has become and as a result, support to expand coverage in rural areas has not kept up with need.

Increasing support for rural wireless connectivity, through such programs as the Mobility Fund within the Universal Service Fund, is of vital importance if our farms and ranches are expected to continue to provide the world’s safest, most affordable and abundant food supply.

The next opportunity to significantly address this issue will be when congress rewrites the badly outdated 1995 Telecom Act.

Position

AEM support efforts to expand rural coverage. As chair of the Rural Broadband Coalition, AEM helped launch an extensive education campaign for regulators at the Federal Communications Commission and lawmakers to enlighten them on the needs for on the farm coverage, setting the stage for when Congress revisits existing law. 

AEM also is encouraging lawmakers to include rural broadband expansion as a possible part of an overarching infrastructure package.

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