Trump Signs Rural Broadband Executive Orders at AFBF Annual MeetingNashville-President Donald Trump with AFBF President Zippy Duvall looking on, signed two executive orders earlier this week that expands rural broadband access to rural Ameri
President Trump’s executive order will make it easier for companies to set up badly needed high-speed broadband networks in rural areas.
Trump’s presidential first order expedites federal permitting to allow broadband expansion in rural areas and makes it easier for wireless operators to build cell towers on federal lands.
"Those towers are going to go up and you are going to have great broadband," Trump said in his speech at the Annual Meeting.
The order is based on a report from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity.
The Federal Communications Commission says at least 39 percent of people living in rural regions do not have access to broadband, compared with just 4 percent of people in cities.
According to the report, in sparsely populated areas, it's not economical for private industry to deploy infrastructure, especially if they have to fight red tape.
Trump's proposal won’t cost taxpayers a dime. Instead, the administration is focused on establishing policies to "get government out of the way" as companies look to deploy fiber links and high-speed wireless technologies to serve these areas.
The FCC is led by Republican Chairman Ajit Pai, from rural Kansas and he’s been working to make it easier for companies to cut through red tape in order to build more network infrastructure in rural areas.
Competitive Carrier Association President Steven Berry, whose organization represents rural providers, applauded the task force's report and the Trump administration's efforts.
"The report recognizes the unfortunate truth that many rural areas remain unserved and underserved and that creates a digital divide throughout the country," said Berry. "I commend the administration for its work to streamline permitting processes, and especially for allowing infrastructure builds on federal facilities. There is no question federal lands are an important part of our country and providing seamless coverage in these areas is just as important as any other location, especially during times of emergencies.”
Trump has heavy support in rural areas and strongly supported him in the 2016 election. And he introduced the new policies as he also touted the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul bill he signed into law last month.
He pointed to reforms to the estate tax as a way to ensure family farms can be passed down to the next generation, and provisions in the legislation that will allow farmers to deduct the entire cost of new equipment in the first year of their investment. And he said the new broadband proposals will ensure American farmers are no longer left behind economically.
"In every decision we make," he said, "we are honoring America's proud farming legacy."