Recently, Tennessee made a smart investment in its digital future when the state awarded $14.8 million in funding to local broadband projects. This funding is a welcome recognition that local networks are really good at connecting Tennesseans to high-quality, reliable, affordable internet access. But Tennessee can do more. The state could expand next-generation internet access to an even greater number of households without spending a dollar by allowing municipal fiber optic networks to expand to areas that want their service.
[Commentary] As Congress continues to hold hearings on “internet expansion” and a possible infrastructure bill is developed, we recommend three action steps that President Trump, Congress and the FCC can and should take to solidify their commitment to improving broadband access in rural America:
Next Century Cities released its 2017 Emerging Issues Policy Agenda, offering policy recommendations that support the expansion of high-quality, affordable broadband access to all. The agenda also explores some of the latest challenges to expanding next-generation internet access and innovations to tackle such barriers.
Next Century Cities communities are leading the way in implementing these policies and practices across the country. The policy agenda includes information and recommendations on issues such as local municipal authority, competition in multiple dwelling units, high-quality access for low-income households, small cell deployment, and One Touch Make Ready policies. For each policy issue, this new resource gives examples of local innovation and success, as well as policy recommendations to drive better competition and increased broadband access locally. The policy agenda also explores principles for government when developing legislation and undertaking broadband infrastructure investments, which is timely given the interest in Congress and at the state level for new investments in broadband.