USDA, FCC launch rural broadband access listening sessions


On Wednesday U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai will join a coalition of stakeholders to launch a series of regional listening sessions targeting the expansion of rural broadband access.

The launch and subsequent listening session are being organized by Farm Foundation, NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, CoBank, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), and the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC).

Perdue and Pai will be joined by Rural Utilities Service Administrator Ken Johnson, Tennessee Telecommunications Association Executive Director Levoy Knowles, and North Arkansas Electric Cooperative Executive Director Mel Coleman. Other presenters will include Constance Cullman, President and CEO, Farm Foundation; Shirley Bloomfield, CEO, NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association; Jim Matheson, CEO, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA); Thomas Halverson, President and CEO, CoBank; Sheldon Petersen, CEO, National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp. (CFC); Jannine Miller, USDA Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Infrastructure; and Joe Swedberg, Chairman of the Board, Farm Foundation

The launch of the E-Connectivity Listening Sessions will take place from 9:15 to 11:30 a.m. on the Whitten Patio at the USDA.

A recent report shows that 30 percent of rural community populations still don’t have access to quality broadband.

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