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Internet2 Files Comments with RUS in Broadband e-Connectivity Pilot Program Proceeding

Sep 19, 2018, by John Morabito
Tags: Executive Insights, External Relations, Federal Government, Policy Issues

On July 27, 2018, the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, released a Notice of Inquiry and Request for Comments on the Broadband e-Connectivity Pilot Program.  Earlier this year, Congress appropriated $600 million in budget authority for the pilot program, which directs RUS to expedite loans and grants for the costs of the construction, improvement, and acquisition of facilities and equipment for broadband service in eligible rural areas. 

Internet2 filed comments in the proceeding on September 10, 2018.  The comments focus on the following main arguments:  1)  RUS should make funding available for middle-mile and backhaul projects; 2)  last-mile projects connecting community anchor institutions in rural areas should receive priority consideration; 3)  RUS should prioritize projects that benefit education in rural America; 4)  RUS should favor pilot projects funded through grants; 5)  RUS should encourage public-private partnerships; and 6)  performance metric tools will help define “sufficient access” to broadband. 

The Quilt also filed comments expressing recommendations for the program on behalf of more than 40 state and regional research and education networks. 

Internet2 will continue to monitor the proceeding and work with our partners in the community as we move forward.