The Key Ingredients of Modern Farming – Soil, Rain, and Broadband

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The state of broadband in the US’s farmlands is a mixture of the good, the bad, and the apprehensive. The good: successes and advancements brought on by broadband and various digital technologies. The bad: many farms still have to rely on pitifully weak technologies such as satellite and DSL. The cloud of apprehension: we spend $6 billion in broadband grants yearly with surprisingly little to show for it, and yet we’re ready to do it again next year. The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society released a progress report on farming and broadband, under the sponsorship of the United Soybean Board, titled, “The Future of American Farming: Broadband Solutions for the Farm Office, Field, and Community.” Many will find the report informative because it helps break down the complex topic of broadband in America’s farmlands and other rural areas. For one thing, broadband drives important indoor office and business management activities for farmers while simultaneously managing multiple outdoor tasks, many of which require wireless technologies. Second, in midsize and smaller farms, owners/business managers and family workers who need broadband’s business-management capabilities need the technology’s capability as personal and family management tools. Because fixed wireless is much better than just a few years ago, communities now have more options for using wireless broadband.

[Craig Settles is a broadband industry analyst, author, and consultant to local governments.]

Analysis: The Key Ingredients of Modern Farming – Soil, Rain, and Broadband