PCCA Joins American Connection Project Broadband Coalition

Continuing its 75-year effort to bring utility services to rural Americans, the Power & Communication Contractors Association (PCCA) joined the American Connection Project Broadband Coalition in July. Coalition members are working together to bring high-speed internet access to all households, with a focus on those in rural areas.

Representing nearly 50 companies and business organizations from a cross-section of the U.S. economy, the coalition launched on July 8. It is spearheaded by farmer-owned cooperative Land O’Lakes Inc., which like PCCA advocates for full internet accessibility, including for all rural Americans.

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More information about the coalition’s launch is available at landolakesinc.com/Press/News/American-Connection-Project-Broadband-Coalition.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Land O’Lakes Inc. and other partners have established free, guest Wi-Fi access points outside Land O’Lakes’ business locations in more than 150 communities. For example, Microsoft donated hotspot boosters to further the reach of the guest Wi-Fi, so that area residents could safely conduct business, communicate with family and friends, and carry out other daily activities online while staying socially distanced in their cars.

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PCCA is excited to be part of the effort and will be reaching out to members to get involved. “What a fantastic response to the pandemic by Land O’Lakes and other members of this coalition,” said John Fluharty, PCCA chairman. “This is a perfect fit with PCCA’s longstanding promotion of rural broadband and our efforts to give back to the communities we touch. I couldn’t be prouder than to have PCCA help launch this important coalition.”

Fluharty also signed PCCA onto a July 8 letter to President Trump and congressional leadership urging them to “enact groundbreaking broadband connectivity legislation that includes the necessary resources to close the digital divide in this country. A bold investment will be essential for the near-term and long-term well-being of our nation. As we make this investment, we must recognize the higher costs of operating in rural areas and ensure that the solution accounts for the costs to sustain these systems while maintaining affordability.”

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Fluharty of Mears Group; PCCA board member Tucker Dotson, Ditch Witch; PCCA president and CEO Tim Wagner; and Eben Wyman, who leads PCCA’s government and industry relations efforts, will be working closely with the coalition and contacting PCCA members for assistance.

“PCCA members know better than anyone the specifics of so many rural Americans lacking a decent internet connection. They see it every day, and I see us being very active in this coalition,” Wagner said. “I thank Tucker, Ditch Witch, and Toro for introducing us to the folks at Land O’Lakes and for jumping in and getting so involved. This will be a great opportunity for PCCA members to help people in their communities while also pushing for broader change.”

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