Despite executive order, experts say rural America will keep waiting for high speed internet

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- A new executive order makes it easier for internet companies to build broadband towers on government buildings and land.

On Monday, President Donald Trump explained the order is, “Streamlining and expediting requests to locate broadband facilities in rural America.”

Trump says, this order will make a difference for people living in rural places with little or no high-speed internet.

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL) calls the order a hollow promise, with no specifics.

She said, "You can’t just say you want to do something and then not have a plan for how you’re going to pay for it, or how you’re going to roll that out.”

Roughly 39 percent of people in rural America don't have high speed internet.
Shirley Bloomfield, who represents hundreds of smaller Internet providers, says that's because it's too expensive for companies to connect parts of the country to fast internet.

She says the new executive order alone doesn't solve that problem.

Bloomfield said, "At the end of the day, it’s not what is actually getting that last mile out to the consumer. It’s not what is getting that wire out to the home, out to the farm, out to the barn."

On Tuesday, Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) said there will eventually be money pumped into the issue.
She said it will be part of a massive infrastructure plan, set to be revealed by the White House later this month.

Fischer said, "We just had another briefing today [Tuesday], and that was confirmed. Part of the rural segment of that package will deal with broadband deployment.”

It's unclear if that plan will have money fully dedicated to broadband, or if states will be forced to choose between using federal money for fix roads and highways instead of improving internet access.

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