Wired & Wireless Issues for Rural Area

The Center for Media Justice (CMJ) held a Rural Broadband Listening Session at the National Rural Assembly held in St Paul (MN) last month. Apparently there were about 20 individuals from 17 communities at the session to talk about the state and policies surrounding broadband access in rural areas. They just released a report stemming from that discussion.

The report looks as:

  • What’s at Stake
  • Challenges
  • What Can Communities Do?

And the culmination is policy recommendations…

  • Define broadband as community infrastructure.
  • Recognize broadband service as a public utility.
  • Reform the Universal Service Fund.
  • Subsidize networks to make broadband connections possible
  • Support public ownership and community broadband networks.

Because I think USF is going to be a hot topic once the State Government gets going again, I’m going to include all of their notes on that issue:

Reforming the Universal Service Fund (USF) so it may be used to make broadband service as universal and affordable as possible will help close the digital divide, foster economic growth and democratic engagement in the poorest communities, and improve the quality of life for historically marginalized communities. We must reform the USF to:

  • Subsidize networks to make broadband connections possible
  • Directly subsidize the households that can’t afford Internet connections through vouchers
  • Ensure that broadband is treated as a public service, not just a commercial service
  • Ensure that USF is directed toward broadband adoption, build out, and maintenance
  • Ensure that all networks and models (including municipally owned and nonprofit networks) that support cost-effective broadband services are eligible to receive USF subsidies

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