In the News: Christopher Mitchell
January 11th, 2018
Media Outlet: KETR 88.9 – Northeast Texas Public Radio
On January 8th, President Trump released executive orders aimed at improving rural broadband, however, these orders are largely ceremonial, not effective for improving rural broadband access.
KETR — or Northeast Texas Public Radio — was interested in covering this issue and reached out to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Community Broadband Networks initiative director Christopher Mitchell to discuss the issue.
An embedded of the audio file and transcript of the story are available below.
The White House says it wants to bring broadband internet service to more remote and rural areas of the country. But getting internet to rural homes and businesses may take more than a presidential signature.
Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in Minneapolis, says the thing to keep in mind about expanding broadband’s reach into rural America is that a president’s executive orders may be well-intentioned, but can only go so far.
“Rural broadband [is] a large problem and Congress needs to get involved,” Mitchell says. “Without Congress’ help, the president is very limited in what he can do to improve the situation.”
Improving the situation would require Congress freeing up money so that agencies that need it – like the FCC or USDA – could put manpower on the mountains of paperwork needed to fully deal with the scale of expanding broadband.
The president’s executive orders make no mention of money to rural broadband providers. Rather, they aim to get government out of the way so providers can improve their services.