Bringing broadband to rural North Dakota

Published: Feb. 15, 2018 at 8:33 PM CST
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You might be surprised to learn that a better Netflix connection could make better farmers in North Dakota. The Trump Administration is making grants and loans available to upgrade broadband coverage in rural America.

President Donald Trump, in his State of the Union address and budget proposal, outlined America's infrastructure as a priority. He plans on making more money available to upgrade the country's infrastructure, including E-connectivity in rural areas.

"He did recognize the importance of broadband in rural America, and we will be working closely with the USDA to deploy, whether it's fiber infrastructure or whether it's wireless infrastructure to serve North Dakota citizens," said Seth Arndorfer, Dakota Carrier Network CEO.

Anne Hazlett from USDA came to North Dakota on Thursday to hear from local officials about what needs there are in the state.

"That connectivity is such an important component of quality of life, and prosperity in rural communities. Both here in North Dakota and really around the country," said Anne Hazlett, USDA Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development.

The same connections that help producers market their crops and run their farms better can be used by everyone in the state.

"In order for our kids to receive a quality education, and for our families to receive quality healthcare and our businesses to compete in a global economy, we can't do any of that without reliable broadband service," said Andorfer.

The president's new budget calls for an additional $30 million in grants and $25 million in loans for broadband improvements.

The president's newly proposed budget for 2019 proposes a $3.7 billion cut for the department of Agriculture's discretionary spending.