White House Launches High Speed Broadband Initiative. On Wednesday, the White House announced a new effort to increase broadband access, particularly in rural areas where coverage and speeds are insufficient to accommodate needs for health care, education and commerce. With input from a range of federal agencies, including the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services and Interior as well the Federal Communications Commission, the American Broadband Initiative Milestones Report offers recommendations grouped into three categories: streamlining federal permitting processes to speed broadband deployment, leveraging federal assets to lower the cost of broadband build-outs, and maximizing the impact of federal funding. See the Funding Opportunities section below for announcements related to broadband access and telecommunications specific to rural areas.