Nicole Palya Wood at the Daily Yonder has the story of federal efforts to expand broadband to rural areas:
In the absence of controversy, even significant actions can slip by without much public notice. Let me share the good news. I am pleased to report that thanks to a $300 million fund set up by the Federal Communications Commission, a lot more Americans in rural communities are a step closer to broadband service on mobile phones.While Americans in cities and suburbs have been snapping up high-powered smartphones at a breathtaking pace and using them for a widening array of mobile and online activity, people who live in many small rural communities are lucky to get a good enough connection for a phone call.For a variety of economic reasons, high-end service simply isn’t reaching many remote and lightly populated communities. So, the FCC has set up a Universal Service Mobility Fund to help start filling those gaps – and this week it announced an aggressive schedule for making it all happen.The FCC is going to run so-called “reverse auctions,” in which the low-bidder in designated communities will receive government funds for setting up service. By defraying some of the extra expense of serving remote communities, the government aims to draw experienced private sector wireless companies to begin offering reliable, high-speed wireless services.
Be sure to visit the link for the full article. As we've discussed many times before, broadband access in Appalachia is critically important for education, entrepreneurship and the economy. After efforts by big telecoms to pull out of rural (read: less profitable) areas in Kentucky, this news is very welcome. Now we just have to see about the follow-through.