President Trump pushing rural Internet access; what Montana is doing already

President Trump pushing rural Internet access; what Montana is doing already


PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER TO EXPAND BROADBAND ACCESS IN RURAL AREAS. PRESIDENT TRUMP: SUPPORTING BROADBAND TOWER FACILITIESIN RURAL AMERICA AND FEDERAL PROPERTIES MANAGED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR. THOSE TOWERS ARE GONNA GO UP AND YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE GREAT, GREAT BROADBAND. NEARLY 23 MILLIONRURAL AMERICANS LACK ACCESS TO HIGH-SPEED INTERNET SERVICE. THIS EXECUTIVE ORDER DIRECTS THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR TO DEVELOP A PLAN TO ALLOW PRIVATE HIGH-SPEED BROADBAND COMPANIES TO CO-LOCATE THEIR EQUIPMENT ON INTERIOR INFRASTRUCTURE. THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT OWNS AS MUCH AS 83 PERCENT OF THE LAND IN SOME WESTERN STATES. HERE IN MONTANA, INDEPENDENT RURAL TELECOMMUNICATION PROVIDERS… COVER MORE THAN 70 PERCENT IO THE STATE WITH HIGH-SPEED BROADBAND INTERNET. ACCORDING TO THE MONTANA TELECOMMUNICATION ASSOCIATION –AS OF MID 2016 – MORE THAN 20- THOUSAND MILES OF FIBER-OPTIC INFRASTRUCTURE HAS BEEN INSTALLED ACROSS BIG SKY COUNTRY. ALL OF MONTANA’S RURAL SCHOOLS -ARE CONNECTED TO HIGH-SPEED INTERNET. AND 69-PERCENT OF ALL MONTANANS .. CURRENTLY HAVE ACCESS TO BROADBAND INTERNET. SINCE 2011, NEARLY 250-MILLION DOLLARS HAVE BEEN INVESTED BY RURAL PROVIDERS FORFIBER-OPTIC INTERNET TECHNOLOGY. THAT AVERAGES OUT TO 30-THOUSAND DOLLARS PER MILE, OR ABOUT 10- THOUSAND DOLLARS PER RURAL MONTANAN. JUST THIS PAST OCTOBER, THE MONTANA PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION SECURED MORE THAN 100-MILLION IN FEDERAL FUNDS TO SUPPORT THEDEVELOPMENT OF BROADBANDIN MONTANA. IN MONTANA, THERE ARE121 INTERNET PROVIDERS, BUT 210- THOUSAND PEOPLEHAVE ACCESS TO ONLY ONE PROVIDER. 50-THOUSAND MONTANANS.. STILLHAVE NO WIRED INTERNET PROVIDERSWHERE THEY LIVE.

Danny Hutson

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