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Efforts to expand broadband service in rural areas got a boost from the budget bill approved this week on Capitol Hill. Under the deal, the Department of Agriculture will receive $550 million to support broadband infrastructure in rural, underserved areas. It’s estimated that almost 30 percent of rural residents are without broadband compared to less than 1 percent of urban dwellers. The lack of fast broadband service is a major challenge for many rural economies and communities.

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