I had some pretty strong reactions in my gut yesterday when I saw President Obama’s Executive Order on broadband and it further teed up my frustration with the endless mixed messages that the rural telecom industry is receiving from the Administration, but I must say that I am relieved that the White House Rural Council does exist because at least there is one entity in the mix who is looking out for the best interests of USDA and RUS borrowers, and rural America in general. This is also on the heels of some broadband adoption initiatives at the FCC. They came out with an announcement this week on a new project and all of the broadband providers invited to the table appeared to be cable companies, other than GCI in Alaska. Given that rural broadband adoption rates are even lower than urban rates, it would have been nice to have been “asked to the party.”
These are typical efforts that, without the Council’s existence, would have only been comprised of large carriers or those interested in cherry-picking in rural markets.
In working with that team, I know that they devote significant time and energy in ensuring that rural is not an afterthought.