Connectivity for all is essential. Cisco is helping bring this to life by empowering an inclusive future for all.

Connecting the unconnected remains a challenge to inequality. In the United States today, 60 million Americans live in rural areas – nearly 20% without an adequate broadband network. It’s an inequality that presents a barrier to opportunities. Our access to school, work, healthcare, and even social connections have hinged on our ability to be online dependably.

As our CEO Chuck Robbins told the Washington Post recently, “[O]ver the last 15 months, the need for [rural] broadband has been highlighted in a way that we’ve never seen before.”

rural broadband

There’s a lot of work to be done, and I’m optimistic. Because I know Cisco, for one, is committed to bringing the full force of our resources and brain power to help bridge the digital divide in the United States.

We recently unveiled the Rural Broadband Innovation Center in North Carolina, a $20 million investment dedicated to showcasing how Cisco Mass Scale Infrastructure solutions are changing the economics of the internet for rural broadband. We also created our rural broadband Customer Advisory Council—a dynamic forum that brings together service providers with Cisco experts to learn from each other and brainstorm solutions that will change lives for the better.

Leveling the playing field

Progress takes a team, and I couldn’t be more excited about how our Customer Advisory Council is uniting us to make positive changes—together. Our goal is to uncover and address the toughest challenges that service providers are facing in expanding broadband in rural communities.

We’re already hearing from customers like you about the obstacles you face and the big questions that are top of mind:

  • How do we stay on top of the cycles and process to apply for federal funding?
  • How do we navigate the world of fixed wireless access?
  • How do we lower the barrier for training on new technologies and skills?
  • How do we handle carrying our tech investments into the future?

Our forums have addressed everything from expertise, staffing, and automation to regulatory and government policy insights from our experts on Capitol Hill. It’s a chance for us at Cisco to let our customers know that you have a partner who will be alongside you on the journey to expand rural connectivity.

The feedback we’re getting from participants has been incredible. The Council is a mind-share that’s mutually beneficial, and that offers direct access to Cisco experts and executives. We think of it as a partnership in the service of rural broadband—where availability and affordability meet.

Coming together for a brighter future

If you’re eager to jump into the conversation about rural broadband and move the needle forward in your community, we’re eager to have you. Chime in below with your comments—or reach out to your Cisco sales rep about joining the Customer Advisory Council.

When we connect the unconnected, we create possibilities. We open the door for equality, inclusiveness, and an even playing field where everyone has a chance to thrive.

That’s a future we all want to live in.


Vinti Batiste

Vice President

Worldwide Sales