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Blog // Connect Michigan

President Obama Highlights the Importance of Rural Broadband at Farm Bill Signing

By Wil Payton

President Obama was in Michigan today to sign the Farm Bill into law. In his speech, at Michigan State University in East Lansing, the President commented on recent initiatives to increase broadband in the nation’s schools.

Below are excerpts from his speech that highlight the importance of broadband:

A lot of what you’re doing here at Michigan State helps to spur on that innovation in all sorts of areas that can then be commercialized into new industries and to create new jobs. 

Training folks with the skills to fill those jobs -- something this institution does very well.

We’ve helped to make sure all of our students have high-speed broadband and high-tech learning tools that they need for this new economy.

Now, despite its name, the farm bill is not just about helping farmers. This bill helps rural communities by investing in hospitals and schools, affordable housing, broadband infrastructure -- all the things that help attract more businesses and make life easier for working families.

Organizations like the Michigan Farm Bureau have, for several years, recognized and advocated the need for broadband development in rural communities. Last December it adopted the following broadband policy:

Rural access to broadband Internet service is a major factor that impacts the ability of rural Michigan residents to compete and participate in the economy. The failure of public policy to address this critical need must be addressed. Access to Internet is an important issue for business, agriculture, and academic purposes for rural students. The State of Michigan should address a comprehensive policy for the provision of universal broadband access statewide that is equitable in cost and quality in both rural and urban settings.

In 2012 they produced a video on the need for this essential utility and highlighted a partnership with Connect Michigan.

Connect Michigan has been meeting with Michigan Farm Bureau to provide an overview of past broadband-related state policy and legislation and provide information on the current state of broadband access, adoption, and use to assist in formulating a policy direction.

To view the Farm Bureau video, click here.

Be sure to follow Connect Michigan on Facebook and Twitter for more articles on how technology impacts your life.

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