The Rural Development Title of the Agricultural Act of 2014 introduces or replaces a number of programs in rural business development, energy, and broadband Internet. Specific to the rural development program area is the inclusion of the digital economy, or broadband technology use, in new and existing programs. These provisions are aimed at improving the economic impact of public investments in rural broadband Internet technologies. The Rural Gigabit Network Pilot Program provides $10 million per fiscal year for ultra-high-speed Internet service in rural areas. While its geographic scope will be small, the pilot program will elicit new data on the need for, and the economic effect of, ultra-high-speed Internet technologies in rural settings. USDA’s Rural Broadband Loan Program continues as an ongoing source of funding for rural broadband networks, with improved reporting and data collection requirements. This chart is found on the page Rural Development in ERS’ Agricultural Act of 2014: Highlights and Implications, updated April 2014.
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