Vilsack says Congress needs to greatly increase broadband funding

Ag Secretary Vilsack says Congress needs to spend much more on broadband funding.

“I really think at some point in time, we as a country need to fish or cut bait on this and actually put some serious, serious resources behind this effort.”

Vilsack says the American Jobs plan is an effort to do that. He says it’s not fair to expect private companies to do the job of expanding broadband in rural areas because they can’t make the business case for it.

“So that’s why government has, I think, an over-sized role to play in this particular area. And if we don’t, then we’ve basically got two classes of citizens here. If I was a small business guy or a farmer in those rural remote areas, you know, I wouldn’t be very happy about that.”

In his testimony before the Senate Ag Appropriations Subcommittee this week, Vilsack said only 64% of the U.S. has adequate access to broadband. He told the committee it’s doing its best but it will take many, many years to actually get the job done with the current budget constraints.

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