WISPA Applauds U.S. House Vote for Bill to Expand Rural Broadband and Precision Agriculture
Washington, DC – The goal of reliable, affordable broadband service for America’s farms received strong support this week as the U.S. voted 378-4 to approve a bill called the Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act (H.R. 4881).
The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) welcomed the bill, which is being advanced by Reps. Bob Latta (R-OH) and Dave Loebsack (D-IA). If enacted, the bill would establish a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) task force, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), to evaluate the best ways to meet the broadband connectivity and technological needs of precision agriculture.
“Precision agriculture” is the emerging use of technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), self-driving machinery, drones, and satellites to operate farms more effectively and efficiently. Because rural communities often lack access to high-speed broadband connectivity, America’s farmers face barriers in integrating these advanced technologies into their operations.
Latta and Loebsack are co-chairs of the House Rural Broadband Caucus and attended WISPA’s “Fixed Wireless Day” on Capitol Hill in April 2017, making them familiar with the many ways that WISPA members are helping to close the broadband gap.
“Many of our members serve farms; some of our members are both farmers and broadband providers. On behalf of hundreds of fixed-wireless broadband providers serving rural areas across the nation, we applaud the leadership of Reps. Latta and Loebsack on this issue, and we pledge to continue supporting their efforts going forward,” said WISPA President Claude Aiken.”
The envisioned task force would be comprised of farmers, ranchers, Internet service providers, broadband mapping experts, related businesses, and local and state government representatives. The duties of the Task Force would include:
- Identifying and measuring current gaps in broadband coverage on agricultural land;
- Developing policy recommendations to promote the rapid, expanded deployment of broadband Internet access service on agricultural land, with a goal of achieving reliable service on 95 percent of agricultural land by 2025;
- Recommending steps the FCC should take to obtain reliable and standardized measurements of broadband Internet access service availability; and
- Recommending steps the FCC should consider to ensure that the expertise of USDA and available farm data are reflected in developing future programs of the Commission.
Breyana Franklin mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org 202-495-3703