Farm Foundation to host forum on rural broadband services

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High-speed internet service is as common as stop lights in urban areas where the economics of such systems are supported by population density and geographic concentration.

But in many areas of rural America, the availability of broadband services is inconsistent or non-existent, creating challenges for agricultural operations, business development, medical services, educational institutions and public services.

The multiple issues involved in broadband delivery to rural America will be examined at the Farm Foundation Forum on Wednesday, Sept. 11. The Forum will be 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. EDT at the Holeman Lounge of the National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C.

Participation in the live session is also possible via a free webcast.

Moderating the panel will be Iowa farmer Ann Jorgensen, a former member of the Board of the Farm Credit Administration, now working on rural economic development issues. Presenting perspectives on broadband issues will be:

Sharon Strover, the Philip G. Warner Regents Professor in Communication in the Radio-TV-Film Department at the University of Texas. She is one of authors of Rural Broadband Availability and Adoption: Evidence, Policy Challenges and Options, a report commissioned by the National Agricultural and Rural Development Policy Center.

Jessica Zufolo, Deputy Administrator of USDA's Rural Utilities Service, will discuss the challenges of advancing broadband access to rural communities.

Mark Lewellen, Manager of Spectrum Advocacy, Deere and Company, will discuss broadband use by agriculture.

John Windhausen, Executive Director of the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, will examine broadband needs of rural communities and schools.

Panelists will each have about 10 minutes to present, after which the floor will be opened for discussion.

To participate: There is no charge to participate in the Forum. If you plan to attend in person, register online HERE or on the Farm Foundation website. If you plan to participate in the live webcast, register HERE. For those unable to view the live event, the webcast will be archived and can be viewed HERE.

Who should participate in the Forum: People with an interest in agricultural, food and rural poicy, including members of Congress, congressional staff, executive branch officials, industry representatives, NGO representatives, academics and members of the media.

The Forum: Farm Foundation, NFP organizes these public forums to engage all stakeholders in informed dialogue on food, agricultural and rural policies. Participants examine current policies, explore and analyze alternative policy proposals, and give voice to new proposals.

Review past Forum presentations and audio files at the Foundation's website.



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