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FCC Commissioner Brenden Carr discusses Rural Broadband Accountability Plan

Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 12:31 AM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - The Rural Broadband Accountability Plan is in its beginning stages to help bring broadband internet coverage to rural and remote areas in 32 different states across the country. Wyoming is one of the states on the list that will benefit from the $1.2 Billion plan. On Tuesday May 31, one of the Commissioners from the Federal Communications Commission, Brendan Carr, Visited Casper to get a better understanding of what will need to take place to get started with the plan to help update parts of the state.

Commissioner Carr said, “We have sort of a unique opportunity right now to make sure that every single community in this country, regardless of your zip code or population density, get a high speed connection. A lot of the builds (across the country) are underway right now. They started a couple years ago. There’s been a lot of new infrastructure funding the last year or so coming out of D.C but it’s still going to be a couple years before that infrastructure hits the ground and so we’re out here seeing, first hand, the challenges that remain for building out high speed connections and we’ve learned a lot already on this trip that we can take back to Washington.”

One of the struggles that the FCC is facing with this project is the need to work on public federally owned lands. These lands are notoriously difficult to get permits to work on. Commissioner Carr noted that on average it takes three times as long, and costs three times as much, to build and work in these areas. He added that there are services who are already prepared to lay wire and cable for this project, they just need a green light to do so.

“Particularly for states like Wyoming, we have to do a better job of streamlining permitting on federal lands. We’re spending a lot of money right now on infrastructure, and that’s great, but if you’re just spending money and not modernizing your permitting process that’s like stepping on the gas and the breaks at the same time,” Said Mr. Carr.

Brendan Carr also made sure to discuss the difference between fiber lines and other types of broadband connections. He said that laying fiber can be time consuming and expensive while other services such as Fixed Wireless and StarLink satellite service can have internet up and running in these areas in just a few days.

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