Thursday Roundup: 28% Lack Standard Broadband


Missouri Valley, the river has reached historic crests.

More than 28 percent of rural residents “lack access to the kind of broadband that most Americans take for granted,” Federal Communications Chair Julius Genachowski said in a press release yesterday. 

Genachowski was quoting from a new report to Congress entitled “Bringing Broadband to Rural America: Update to Report on a Rural Broadband Strategy.” The report was prepared by the FCC and the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service. You can get a copy of the full report here.

Genachowski said the 28 percent figure “is not acceptable, and it’s why the FCC has launched major initiatives to overhaul our universal service system, free more spectrum, and reduce barriers to broadband deployment. These efforts will help ensure that high-speed Internet can connect rural communities to global markets, jobs, and world-class education and health care.”

The report says that 26.2 million Americans still lack access to 3Mbps service. Nearly 73 percent of those live in rural areas.

•The G-20 agreed to address fast-rising food prices at a meeting in Paris. 

According to the AP, the 20 large economy nations “agreed to calm the world market by establishing a transparent system to track global supplies, set up emergency food reserves, engage in more research into new wheat strains and create a rapid response mechanism to deal with drought in producer countries.” 

Roy Silver writes about the ongoing conflict in Lynch, a coal camp in the far corner of southeastern Kentucky.  

The town has been fighting to limit mountaintop removal mining on Black Mountain which rises above Lynch. It’s a lesson in how hard it is for small communities in coal country to survive.

• Not everyone was amused, it appears. Pike County Judge Wayne Rutherford, a Democrat, has told Democratic ag commissioner candidate that he’s not welcome for a visit

Bob Farmer, from Louisville, is running for Agriculture Commissioner as a Democrat. He also does a comedy routine that included jokes about people living in Eastern Kentucky. (No teeth or shoes — you know the schtick.) Farmer said he apologized “if it offends anyone.” It did, Rutherford, one of the longest serving politicians in the state.

“We are, by nature, a forgiving people here in Pike County and Eastern Kentucky,” Rutherford wrote to the Lexington Herald-Leader. “But it is also our nature not to reward anyone who makes disparaging remarks about us with a vote, whether it be in a joking manner or even in general conversation.”

• A discussion in the New York Times about ending all direct payments as crop subsidies.