The USDA has created a webpage on rural broadband. I thought it was going to be a collection of facts and statistics on broadband but it is potentially more compelling than that. It does provide a shortcut to the USDA funding sources:
- Community Connect Grants
- Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants
- Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee
- Telecommunications Infrastructure Loans and Guarantees
It also points to BroadbandUSA, which has gotten quite a facelift since I last visited. They now list upcoming events, such as a webinar in September on wireless broadband options.
The new USDA site also asks for visitor feedback – from customers and broadband providers. Here are two sample questions:
- For users: What time-of-day (morning, afternoon or evening) do rural residents and businesses most need to use high-speed internet?
- For providers: Which types of broadband technologies are most applicable for various types of rural areas such as cable, fiber, mobile wireless, fixed wireless, and satellite?
They are also inviting comments through the Federal Register before September 10 on the Broadband e-Connectivity Pilot Program.