For Immediate Release

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Moira Vahey, Free Press, (202) 265-1490 x31

Broadband Is Critical Infrastructure for Rural America

USDA Study Shows Importance of Closing the Digital Divide

WASHINGTON - According to a new study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
rural counties on the wrong side of the digital divide are at a major
economic disadvantage compared to rural counties with high-speed
Internet. The study shows that counties with broadband have stronger
economic and employment growth than unserved rural areas do.

Derek Turner, research director at Free Press, issued the following statement:

"The USDA study adds more weight to the overwhelming evidence that
broadband is becoming critical infrastructure and driving the economy
throughout America. Closing the rural digital divide should be a top
priority for policymakers, who must ensure that economic stimulus funds
reach the rural areas that need them the most. We must also finally
tackle the long-needed reform of the Universal Service Fund. Policies
that will foster a world-class broadband infrastructure for all
Americans are essential to the future of rural America."

Read the USDA's new report, "Broadband Internet's Value for
Rural America":

Read more about policy solutions for reforming the Universal Service
Fund in the Free Press report "America's Broadband Problem: Access":


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