In a commentary piece for The Daily Yonder, writer Craig Settles digs into another way rural America could get the broadband internet it has been promised. Called “soup-to-nuts”, broadband could be tailored to what the particular rural area needs out of its internet service, instead of relying on the silo method used by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

From the story: “Typically broadband programs are siloed, each just on infrastructure, digital training and literacy, schools, libraries, etc. Here, NTIA went for a more holistic approach. For example, a college could propose a one-time capital investment into infrastructure that expands its current broadband capabilities and connectivity. Otherwise, they can purchase or lease eligible equipment and devices for students’ in-person or remote education at the colleges.

NTIA encouraged colleges to creatively build a 15-mile broadband radius. “If census tracks within the radius do not exceed 250% of the poverty threshold, NTIA can fund digital inclusion access, broadband subscriptions, and digital programming, plus hiring and training IT personnel to use the technology,” says Woods. “Colleges could implement these activities themselves, or partner with a minority business enterprise, or a tax-exempt 501 C3 organization.”

NTIA seeks to fund soup-to-nuts plans that add a variety of digital elements that all rural communities need. Their move to break down the silos of deployment hopefully will curb the politics of “just good enough,” that process of making just enough broadband progress to make politicians happy, but not enough for long-term or ongoing success.”

With that approach, rural areas, and the farmers in them who rely on broadband, could achieve greater “digital equity” than through lobbying through the bigger internet service providers and their federal representatives.

To read the rest of the commentary on the Yonder, click here.