The Ag Minute: Delays in Broadband Funding Are Costing Rural America Opportunities

Tamara Hinton (202) 225-0184

WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, guest host Rep. Mike Conaway, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, highlights the importance of holding the administration accountable for disbursing funds for broadband projects under the stimulus bill. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Commerce with $7.2 billion to build critical broadband infrastructure throughout the country including unserved rural areas. To date, there have been no broadband infrastructure projects approved under the stimulus bill. Rep. Conaway worked as a certified public accountant prior to serving in Congress.

Click here to listen to The Ag Minute. The transcript is below.

"Hi, this is Mike Conaway. I am the Ranking Member on the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Rural Development. We will have a hearing this week - on Thursday - to review the current process and progress that both the Department of Commerce and the Department of Agriculture have made in rolling out some $4 billion in money that was passed as part of the $787 billion stimulus program.

The current economic climate places new and acute burdens on rural America. From the small businesses in each of our communities to the farmers and ranchers working every daylight hour, the benefits of broadband access can help them compete in the global market. Bridging the broadband divide would send jobs to rural America, not overseas.

We hope to use the process at the Committee on Thursday to highlight areas in which additional progress needs to be made by both of these agencies in rolling out this important program for all of rural America."

The Ag Minute is Ranking Member Lucas' weekly radio address that is released each Tuesday from the House Agriculture Committee Republicans.