NORTH BEND – FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr stopped in North Bend on Wednesday to learn more about rural internet connectivity.
Carr visited the Ruzicka family farm, northwest of town, and spoke with several members of the family, as well as leaders from Great Plains Communications and the Valley Valmont.
Carr says the current level of internet being provided to a lot of rural families is not strong enough to handle business online.
“I think what’s most interesting, is a lot of times back in D.C., when you hear about smart ag and precision ag, and you think about GPS controlled tractors, relatively low bandwidth applications, weather monitors, but then you get out here, and you see the massive data sets that are being pulled of these combines and these sprayers, and the need to have a good broadband connection to put that back to a cloud,” says Carr.
Carr says it takes hours for farmers to upload data through inefficient means, because they don’t have the internet that could speed the process to minutes.
“Roughly, the number is around 25 million. 25 million that don’t have fixed high speed broad band as we define it. So there’s work to do to try and bring that number down,” says Carr.
Carr says he and other regulators are working to find ways to help rural internet providers expand their reach to more households.
Carr was visiting communities in both Nebraska and Iowa on Wednesday, traveling to Sioux City after leaving North Bend.