Kansas Senator Jerry Moran Calls for Circumspection on Project to Expand Rural Broadband ServicesTue, 22 Jan 2019 10:58:15 CST
Kansas Junior Senator Jerry Moran has been actively involved in improving rural broadband, wireless internet and cellular service across rural America - a problem that has stunted economic growth and capabilities throughout our nation. In working with other lawmakers and the Federal Communications Commission, Moran has pushed for policy that seeks to remedy this situation with expediency.
During the recent American Farm Bureau Federation Convention in New Orleans, Moran gave a news briefing about the progress that has been made on this front. At the conclusion of this briefing, he took a moment to speak one-on-one with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays about the status of this project. You can listen to that complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“This is an area in which Congress has done some significant things, as has the FCC,” Moran stated. “We put a lot more money - $600 million - into rural development for purposes of helping pay for broadband in place where it is just economically and financially not feasible. That process is ongoing, so I think you see progress and will see a lot more progress over time in remote and rural places.”
According to Moran, the 2018 Farm Bill that was recently passed and signed into law prior to the end of the year, was finalized with provisions authored by Moran himself that requires Rural Development only spend those dollars in areas where broadband and infrastructure is not established. This measure, he says, will ensure that funding, time and resources are all best spent by improving and expanding services where they are needed most. This is also coupled with actions by the FCC that compliment what the Rural Development Office at the United States Department of Agriculture is facilitating. However, Moran admits that he has one concern with moving forward on the project at this juncture - pointing out that the information being used to determine where service is needed is not accurate.
“My concern with the FCC is the map - there are actually two maps dealing with mobility, broadband and cellular service and my view is the maps are created in ways that did not provide accurate information,” he said. “Place that have no or little cell or broadband services - the map doesn’t reflect that. I can tell you it’s flawed just by driving down the roads of Kansas and losing my cellular coverage.”
Moran has proposed that before any money is actually spent on developing broadband services, that the information be reviewed and corrected for accuracy. The FCC has agreed to this precaution and has since put the project on pause as further steps are taken to provide accurate information.
“The map is an important component and before we invest millions of dollars,” Moran said concluding his report on the status of this project, “we need to get the map right.”
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