Broadband access in rural communities has improved over the years, but there is more work to be done to provide access for Indiana rural residents. Indiana Farm Bureau will keep this at the forefront of their priorities as precision agriculture grows and rural lifestyles demand the access.
The access is important, it should be high quality broadband, but Katrina Hall with INFB says it is a work in progress.
“There has been a lot of progress made, but we’ve really been advocating for this for almost 10 years and of course everybody knows the pandemic brought the needs of everyone for higher quality broadband into focus.”
Hall tells HAT they’ve been promoting broadband long enough that they have a good grasp of what improvements are needed and how to secure them. Those additions were reflected in the recent policy book update for 2023.
“Most of the things we added were aimed towards leveraging the federal money that’s coming down the pike. There are several different pots of money that are coming from the feds, but also the money that the state has set aside for broadband grants and so forth. Really, we’re just trying to make sure that that money goes as far as it can and to be as flexible as it can, because one thing we have learned over especially the last couple of years is that it isn’t really one-size-fits-all.”
She adds it takes many stakeholders working together to achieve proper connectivity across Indiana. Indiana Farm Bureau is a part of that.
“We’ve built not only strong industry relationships on this, but we definitely have been from day one on our efforts a partner with the Office of Community and Rural Affairs that’s under the Lieutenant governor’s umbrella as well as the Indiana Office of Broadband.”
Hall, the Senior Director of Policy Strategy and Advocacy for INFB, also says take the speed test available on their website if you have not already. The data gathered from that is important in determining the exact needs and locations of un or underserved areas.