This week, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr is visiting Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri for events with Arkansas’ Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.), Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.) and Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.).
The events are focused on federal and state partnerships, and the transformative effect that next-generation connectivity is having on rural areas, including on agriculture, education, telehealth and the economy.
On Sept. 7, Carr joined Hutchinson at an event highlighting a series of rural broadband fiber expansion projects that include funding from federal programs and that are administered by the Arkansas Rural Connect Broadband Program. Carr also visited a manufacturer of equipment for satellite, broadband, wireless and telecommunications industries in the Little Rock area.
On Sept. 8, Carr joined Hill and Hutchinson at the Arkansas Farm Bureau’s Arkansas Connectivity Summit in Hot Springs to discuss plans to improve high-speed broadband in rural Arkansas and the importance of federal and state partnerships and coordination.
On Sept. 9, Carr is scheduled to kick off the day with nearly a dozen electric cooperatives providing high-speed internet in Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Oklahoma. He will then visit a Native American-owned telecom company in Oklahoma that manufactures and builds telecom infrastructure. Carr’s schedule includes a walking tour of downtown Tulsa to visit recently deployed 5G small cells.
After that, Carr is expected to join Mullin for a visit with an infrastructure company that is working on the newest digital broadcast television standard, ATSC 3.0. Carr’s schedule includes a visit with a small, rural wireless internet service provider in eastern Kansas to discuss the importance of connectivity for education and the local economy.
Carr will close out Sept. 9 by visiting a COVID-19 Telehealth Program recipient in Kansas that has used federal funding to expand the use of telehealth services for 60,000 patients in highly rural and low-income areas.
On Sept. 10, Carr has plans to join Long to visit a family-owned business that supplies solutions for the tower climbing industry. Carr is expected to end his trip by meeting with students gaining the skills necessary to land a good-paying job in the tower and telecom fields at State Technical College of Missouri, one of the community colleges programs that Carr has discussed as part of his 5G jobs initiative.