While the telecommunications industry and stakeholders broadly agree broadband access and affordability are critically important, there isn’t always agreement on how to make that happen. Some segments of the industry, including large telephone, fixed wireless and satellite companies, advocate for any new broadband infrastructure programs to fund networks at much lower speeds than cooperatives and others are striving to build. Cooperatives want their consumer-members to have access to broadband that will be reliable and affordable, and meet their speed needs now and for years to come.
Indiana’s electric cooperatives urged Congress to provide full funding for broadband to meet the growing demand for high-speed internet service. Congress is expected to take up a sweeping infrastructure bill this year that will include broadband expansion to rural communities and underserved urban areas for decades to come.
Electric cooperatives advocate that any new federal programs must fund broadband infrastructure capable of:
- Enabling businesses to meet the needs of consumers
- Empowering businesses to relocate to any community
- Providing opportunities for teleworkers and students at the same level regardless of geography
- Enabling anchor institutions to fully provide for their entire communities
- Making precision agriculture capabilities possible so agriculture producers can improve efficiencies.