Benton Foundation Updates Guide for Community Leaders Seeking Affordable, Next Generation Broadband

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The Benton Foundation published a handbook for city officials seeking the affordable, abundant bandwidth their communities will need to thrive in the decades ahead. Designed for local decision makers, The Next Generation Network Connectivity Handbook: A Guide for Community Leaders Seeking Affordable, Abundant Bandwidth reviews the current landscape of broadband networks, including next generation, gigabit capable networks, outlines best practices, summarizes existing models, and presents a framework through which community leaders might begin preliminary project steps given their city’s specific strengths and circumstances. “Our purpose,” said co-author Blair Levin, “is to lower the initial, daunting information barrier that exists between cities already immersed in these Internet infrastructure issues and those just beginning to navigate them.” From 2009-2010, Levin oversaw the development of the National Broadband Plan while at the Federal Communications Commission. A key insight offered by city officials is the important linkages between deploying next generation information networks and other municipal policies, including those affecting construction, transportation, housing, and economic development. As a result, the Handbook identifies two critical and related tasks for cities: understanding how its practices affect the economics of deploying and operating next generation networks, and organizing its assets, practices and people to improve its ability to negotiate with third party providers or deploy these networks themselves. “Many communities are tackling 21st Century information infrastructure challenges themselves, regionally, or with private partners. We have a lot to learn from their approaches.” said co-author Denise Linn, Program Analyst for the Smart Chicago Collaborative. “In the second edition of the Handbook, we’ve incorporated new cases and resources from 2016. This field is a moving target with emerging best practices and shifting players — tracking new broadband initiatives has never been more important.”

Benton Foundation Updates Guide for Community Leaders Seeking Affordable, Next Generation Broadband Benton (read the report)