The Next Generation Connectivity Handbook
The Next Generation Network Connectivity Handbook: A Guide for Community Leaders Seeking Affordable, Abundant Bandwidth
This is 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, it 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 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.
The Handbook itself is an outgrowth of the many discussions between Gig.U and others deeply knowledgeable on municipal issues, in which it became clear that cities would benefit from a guide to stimulating new investments in 21st century information infrastructure. One of the key insights city officials provided concerned the importance of the many linkages between deploying such information networks and other municipal policies, including those affecting construction, transportation, housing, and economic development. As a result, at the heart of the Handbook are two critical and related tasks for the city: 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 a network itself.
Given the pace of change, this second edition of the Handbook provides a “snapshot” of information for city leaders as of the end of 2016. We anticipate future updates in response to new products, evolving technology, new lessons, and feedback from partners and readers. Our country is still early in its journey to assure that all have access to next generation bandwidth. While cities have led in the efforts to date, most still have not yet started down this path. As they do, we hope this Handbook helps them, and in turn, that their collective experiences will improve this resource, and ultimately bring all closer to affordable, abundant bandwidth now and for generations to come.
About the Authors
Blair Levin is the Executive Director of Gig.U. He also serves as a Non-resident Senior Fellow of the Metropolitan Policy Project of the Brookings Institute. From 2009-2010, Mr. Levin oversaw the development of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler cited Mr. Levin’s work, noting “no one’s done more to advance broadband expansion and competition through the vision of the National Broadband Plan and Gig.U.” Prior to his work on the National Broadband Plan, Mr. Levin worked as an analyst at Legg Mason and Stifel Nicolaus. Barron’s Magazine noted that in his work, he “has always been on top of developing trends and policy shifts in media and telecommunications … and has proved visionary in getting out in front of many of today’s headline-making events.” From 1993-1997, Levin served as Chief of Staff to FCC Chairman Reed Hundt. Previously, Mr. Levin had practiced law in North Carolina, where he represented new communications ventures, as well as local governments. He is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School.
Denise Linn is a Program Analyst for the Smart Chicago Collaborative and a recent graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School. Her professional experience, thus far, has revolved around closing the digital divide, increasing broadband competition, and implementing city-level Internet access projects. Throughout 2014 as an Ash Fellow with the Gig.U project, and as a member of the Berkman Center Fiber Team, she assisted local leaders seeking to build or extend next generation fiber-optic networks to spur economic development. Before graduate school, she was an Economics Research Assistant for the Auctions and Spectrum Access Division of the FCC. She is also an alumna of the AmeriCorps VISTA program and spent a year of service working on broadband access and digital literacy projects with One Economy in North Carolina. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia.