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Montana Ag Network: Rural broadband important to state agriculture industry

as more and more farmers and ranchers here in Montana adopt precision agriculture technology having access to high-speed Internet is critically important Russell Denman shares more in our Montana AG Network feature in today’s agriculture industry reliable and strong broadband internet is no longer a luxury but a necessity for farmers and ranchers as well as the quality of life for all rural Americans Michele Erickson Jones farms near Broadview Montana and explains definitely more and more important as we start doing more and more work online as more programs are online based as is our combines attractors our Diagnostics or certainly online base and it has become a crucial part of our industry to be able to access the markets be able to access the auction online and just adds a lot of efficiency and can add a lot of profitability to our operations closing the digital divide and making sure that more Americans have access to high-speed Internet service is a top priority of the FCC during a recent trip to Montana FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr had the opportunity to see where progress has been made and the challenges that still exist yeah we’re fortunate you know we have five commissioners that work at the agency our Chairman chairman PI group in Parsons Kansas so I think with a unique appreciation and perspective at the agency right now when it comes to rural America and we’ve elevated bridging the digital divide making sure that everyone has a fair shot at connectivity to our top priority and we’re seeing some good progress more broadband is being built out and at an accelerated clip than we’ve seen before new cell sites are going up around the country we got to keep the hammer down until everybody sees that but the numbers are headed in the right direction and it’s not just farmers and ranchers who depend on rural broadband these days Carbon County Commissioner Scott Blaine says that entire rural communities do too for some very important essential services it’s critical to everything we do anymore and it’s not just to get Netflix in every room of your house and we we have clients on our mental health centers seeking telemedicine with their addiction counselor and Harden or Lewistown or Billings and from a county perspective you know we rely heavily on everything on the cloud so people can work remotely and it’s just a complete neccessity to have in the county the upside to broadband is significant in fact a new Farm Bureau study shows that widespread broadband service could boost the agricultural economy alone by an estimate at sixty four point five billion dollars in Billings Russell Nimitz MTN news now while most Americans do take broadband for grants at about twenty five percent of rural Americans lack access to broadband which compares to the only two percent of urban Americans who lack such access

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