Community-Led Broadband Agendas and Issues to Watch in the Next Administration

Although Donald Trump will be our next President, we are not sure who will occupy key positions in broadband policy. We can, however, know what some of the agendas and issues will be and their potential direction. Several can impact the economics and options related to network deployments. 1) The Federal Communications Commission’s ability to legally undercut laws restricting municipal broadband efforts is likely to remain limited, but we note that a number of efforts have proceeded in states with such laws, and as more communities obtain next generation broadband through their own efforts, and as such broadband becomes more important from an economic development perspective, the ability for incumbents to convince legislatures to pass such laws will likely weaken. 2) As competitors try to deploy next generation networks, they have pointed to two places where they see significant barriers: utility poles and entry to multiple-dwelling units (MDUs). 3) One of the few areas of agreement between the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, and the President-elect, Donald Trump, is that both agreed there was a need for the country to spend more on infrastructure. While Trump has not yet laid out his technology-related agenda, cities making plans for upgrading their networks should pay close attention to policy debates in the first part of 2017 to determine if there are new resources to be utilized in upgrading networks for these future needs. 4) In the last few years, there have been increasing calls for the government to adopt policies that enable all to participate in what we might think of as digital life, particularly for such services as health care, education, job training, and public safety. Again, we cannot know what the precise policies will be for improving inclusion in digital life. We can know that greater efforts at inclusion increase the value of, and the percentage of, adoption in traditionally low-adoption communities. Both have the impact of improving the economics of new deployments, as they bring new customers, and a greater willingness to pay, to the platform.


Community-Led Broadband Agendas and Issues to Watch in the Next Administration