Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Represents a Potential Leap Forward in Overcoming the Digital Divide

For Immediate Release
Contact: Carolyn Just, 703-351-2015, cjust@ntca.org

Arlington, Va., (April 12, 2019) – NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association today issued the following statement from Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield regarding the joint White House and FCC announcement of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which will provide $20.4B over the course of 10 years to support broadband efforts across rural America.

NTCA represents nearly 850 community-based broadband providers leading innovation in small town America through the deployment and operation of future-proof networks that enable direct consumer and business access as well as supporting wireless technologies in rural communities.

“Today’s announcement of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund represents a potentially significant leap forward in our nation’s efforts to overcome the digital divide. First and foremost, NTCA is delighted to see recognition from policymakers at the very highest levels of the inextricably integrated nature of communications networks—put another way, that wireless needs wires and 5G needs fiber.

“Second, this recognition comes backed by substantial resources that are critical to making the business case for investment in and ongoing operation of future-proof networks in rural areas. Third, we are pleased that the FCC will be taking a lead role in this effort. Under the leadership of Chairman Ajit Pai, the agency has made terrific strides in directing funds to where they are needed most and seeking to avoid the prospect of multiple governmental programs funding duplicative network construction.

“NTCA members have been building a better future for their rural communities for decades, and as hometown providers, their commitment to connecting rural America is second to none. As the rules of this program are further developed, our members look forward to working with policymakers on these initiatives and to furthering their critical role in delivering on the promise of sustainable and affordable broadband for rural America.”

###