Rural BroadbandLast week, AEM and 23 other trade associations and organizations came together in a letter supporting rural broadband funding. The letter, addressed to Senate Appropriations Chairman Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), Senate Appropriations Vice Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), House Appropriations Chairwoman Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY-17), and House Appropriations Ranking Member Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX-12), urged congressional leaders to "continue significant funding for the deployment of broadband in rural America" as they finalize the fiscal year 2020 appropriations bills.

Specifically, the letter applauds the House Agriculture Appropriations bill for including $605 million for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s Broadband ReConnect Program. ReConnect offers loans and grants for stakeholders in rural areas that lack sufficient broadband access. In the first round of applications that were solicited and collected for the ReConnect program earlier this year, the total amount requested significantly exceeds currently available funding. With more applications expected in future rounds, AEM and the other organizations believe that this amount is just a fraction of what is needed to properly build out rural broadband infrastructure. Click here to read the letter.

AEM has long called for increased access and funding for wireless connectivity in rural America. As it currently stands, broadband connectivity for the nation’s cropland and ranchland does not meet the needs of modern agriculture production. Our member companies continue to design and manufacture state-of-the-art equipment with the latest technology onboard. Farmers need and expect adequate wireless connectivity to meet the baseline requirements for advanced farm machinery.

AEM will continue to advocate for increased rural broadband funding and expansion until the needs of farmers and equipment manufacturers are met. For more information on rural broadband infrastructure, please reach out to AEM's Nick Tindall at ntindall@aem.org.

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