U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr toured the state last week to talk about broadband connectivity. They started their day on a farm in Hancock County and finished by touring the Indiana Corn and Soybean Innovation Center at Purdue’s Agronomy Center for Research and Education.
Kendell Culp, a Rensselaer farmer representing the Indiana Soybean Alliance, expressed to them the importance of internet connectivity on the farm with all of the new technology being introduced. He also cited the importance of telemedicine and how it could positively impact rural communities.
“If our employees can call a doc versus take time off work to go to the doctor and then come back, I mean, these are all dollars of savings that are really vital for us to have. So, if we’re going to continue to grow economies in rural parts of this country, we’ve got to have that connectivity.
Young says one of the things he learned while touring and hearing from constituents is there are a number of direct cost savings to federal, state, and local governments by deploying broadband.
“That is, deploy broadband, and not even have to spend as much money on say Medicare or Medicaid because people are healthier on account of telemedicine. Not spend as much on special education dollars, because we are educating people more efficiently through the use of broadband technologies. And then we can capture some of those unrealized expenditures, invest on the front in broadband, and I think that may have some possibilities as well. But I’m open to creative solutions, and I think we should all be looking for them to try and make sure that we can cover as much of the country as possible.
Carr added, “This has been super helpful for us to take these stories back to DC, to help us build momentum to get reforms done, the funding done, that we need to get more broadband. So, we’ll keep working on this.
Carr’s boss, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, says that expanding broadband access to rural communities is one of the agency’s top priorities.