Washington, D.C. – The Rural Wireless Association, Inc. (RWA) met recently with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to discuss the important role of fixed and mobile wireless solutions in the implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s $42.45 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program. RWA stressed how factors such as serving difficult terrain, speed of deployment, lower construction costs, and future-proofing networks through network virtualization are all strong reasons to include funding for wireless networks.
RWA also highlighted, as it did in its previously filed comments, the need for flexibility to serve unpopulated farm acreage in order to connect precision agriculture applications to broadband. Future proofing farms, ranches, and waterways will be vital for U.S. food production and sustainability long term. With over 2 million rural family farms in the U.S. that could take advantage of precision agriculture applications, deployment of wireless networks that can connect these applications across farms and ranches is essential to the digital transformation of rural America. As wireless and edge computing infrastructure are built closer to farms and ranches, latency will be reduced and lack of data bandwidth needed to support precision agriculture applications will be a problem of the past.
To close the digital divide, RWA strongly encourages NTIA to consider the important role of wireless networks and the emergence of precision agriculture applications that can benefit all Americans. RWA looks forward to continuing its work with NTIA to develop the guidelines that the states will follow to implement the BEAD Program.