How Do Government and Broadband Providers Connect the Nation?

Coverage Type: 

Broadband companies are lworking with local and state leaders to bring their resources, expertise, and connections to finish the job of connecting everyone in the US to the power and opportunity of broadband. As they forge alliances to close their digital divide, several criteria are critical:

  • Prioritize unserved and underserved homes and businesses: This is a requirement of new federal broadband funds – for good reason. It avoids costly duplication and keeps the focus on ensuring everyone has high-speed connectivity. The Federal Communications Commission is in the final stage of developing detailed, nationwide connectivity maps to ensure taxpayer funds are targeted with precision to unserved and underserved locations. Most of the new public funding will be distributed under this direction.
  • Insist on partners with proven expertise: Past government efforts too often favored newcomers to the business with little to no experience building and maintaining networks. The result was wasted tax dollars and communities still on hold awaiting connection. A rigorous partner selection process should prioritize qualified, proven companies.
  • Think long-term: Broadband deployment is not a one-and-done affair. Communities need to build networks. But they also need to ensure the infrastructure is continually strengthened and resilient over time. This requires ongoing resources and expertise. Is the infrastructure partner equipped to manage long-term upkeep? Can it send qualified technicians out, at a moment’s notice, in the dead of night if necessary, to keep everyone connected?

The abundance of public and private resources being dedicated to universal connectivity puts this longstanding national objective within reach. But it will be the quality of work across the public and private sectors that ultimately determines success in making broadband’s benefits real in every US home and business.

[Jonathan Spalter is the CEO of USTelecom]

How Do Government and Broadband Providers Connect the Nation?