Membership Messages

Fahe Advocacy Update: Negotiations begin on raising federal spending caps; FCC announces creation of $20.4 billion dollar broadband fund

The Latest

  • Winners of “Appalachian Narratives of Our Times” essay contest announced
  • House and Senate Leaders begin work on lifting “spending caps” to prevent across the board cuts to federal programs

Longer Term

  • FCC announces creation of $20.4 billion dollar broadband fund RCAP,
  • NACo and Rural LISC develop app to test broadband speeds and increase funding for rural internet services

The Latest

In case you missed it, Fahe partnered with Berea College and Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation to sponsor the “Appalachian Narratives of Our Time” essay contest. A full list of essay topics and author bios can be found at the official Berea College announcement.

Politico is reporting that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have begun discussions with the aim of raising budgetary caps on spending that limit Congress’ ability to increase investments that benefit our country. A two-year deal would avoid the across-the-board automatic spending cuts referred to as “sequestration,” likely allowing both defense and non-defense spending to be increased. Senator McConnell made it clear that there is a “bipartisan desire” to avoid sequestration, but this is only the beginning of a longer process. As Fahe Members know from our work in the field, a deal that lifts spending caps and increases investment in the region will help everyday Americans to prosper.

Longer Term

The FCC recently announced the creation of a $20.4 billion fund to increase capacity in rural broadband infrastructure. Framed around the push towards 5g connectivity and the potential for economic development, the FCC plans to invest substantively in “next generation” broadband networks over the next decade. Fahe supports additional investment in rural broadband. We encourage the FCC to ensure the investment is deployed over the next several years at the scale needed to make rural and small town America connected communities with more capacity to benefit from a technology-driven economy.

The National Association of Counties in partnership with Rural LISC and RCAP have developed an app, TestIT, to measure and catalogue broadband speeds across the country. Data from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) often understate the extent to which Americans struggle to access broadband. By utilizing crowd sourced, geolocated, and anonymous data, TestIT seeks to provide a more complete picture of internet connectivity and increase investment for regions with persistent struggles in accessing highspeed broadband. You can find more information and contribute your area data through their mobile app.

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