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Land O'Lakes Inc.

10/18/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/18/2021 07:16

Expanding broadband access for Milford residents

MILFORD, INDIANA (October 18, 2021) - Today, efforts to expand broadband internet access for residents of the Milford, Indiana area is announced with Purina Animal Nutrition, Land O'Lakes, internet service provider Watch Communications and Microsoft.

Watch Communications will install high-speed broadband technology to the Purina Animal Nutrition facility and the surrounding area. This effort to improve internet connectivity has the potential to directly benefit local residents in this area who are currently unable to access adequate broadband service at their homes.

Not only is broadband increasingly critical to daily life, it also enables precision agriculture, increasing yields, improving productivity, and boosting profits. Yet, according to the Federal Communications Commission, more than 18 million Americans do not have access to broadband, including nearly a quarter of Americans living in rural areas. Additionally, 60 percent of farmers say they lack the connectivity needed to run their business. This effort by Watch Communications, Land O'Lakes and Microsoft aims to address these gaps.

This project is part of ongoing efforts by Land O'Lakes, Watch Communications and Microsoft to address the rural broadband gap across the United States. Watch Communications is a Microsoft Airband Initiative partner, and the Airband Initiative has developed a strategic approach that brings together private and public sector organizations to help address the broadband gap and aims to extend broadband access to three million people living in rural America by July 2022. Similarly, Land O'Lakes and its cooperative network are helping to bridge the digital divide with awareness and advocacy through its American Connection Project.

"We're so excited to be working with these organizations to bring real solutions for the lack of broadband access in these communities," said Teddy Bekele, Chief Technology Officer at Land O'Lakes. "As a farmer-owned co-op with deep roots across rural America, Land O'Lakes will continue to raise awareness and devise more ways to increase access to digital connectivity for all Americans."

"Increasing access to broadband internet in rural areas is a primary focus of our business," said Watch Communications President and CEO Chris Daniels. "We believe that connection speeds and strength should not be limited based on a zip code. Our work with Land O'Lakes and Microsoft enables the expansion of broadband through advanced technologies that overcome challenging non-line-of-sight conditions that are common in rural America. We appreciate the chance to serve members of Ceres Solutions."

"Today, too many in rural America doesn't have access to digital opportunities available to the rest of the United States," said Vickie Robinson, general manager of Microsoft's Airband Initiative. "But by investing in connectivity relationships like this, we can help rural communities thrive in the 21st century economy.