National Association of Counties

County officials, members of Congress team up to support extension of Affordable Connectivity Program

Several members of Congress teamed up with county officials to show their support for extending the Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides internet access to more than 23 million households across the country. Reps Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Marc Molinaro (R-NY), and Norma Torres (D-CA), and county officials advocated for the extension of the program. Congress must come together to pass the “bipartisan, common-sense and urgent” extension, or else millions of Americans will be left behind in the digital divide, Rep Torres urged. Counties are “absolutely unified” in support of extending

Counties are partners, not barriers to broadband. It’s time to tell Congress the same

Recently proposed legislation in the House of Representatives has sought to up-end the role of local governments in the siting decisions process of both wireless and wireline broadband infrastructure. The legislation, The American Broadband Deployment Act of 2023 (H.R.

Counties urge Congress to extend Affordable Connectivity Program

Elected officials at the local and federal level are urging Congress to extend funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which offers discounted broadband service to low-income households, providing access to healthcare, education and employment. Lake County (IL) Board Member Jennifer Clark, who is also chair of the county’s special committee on broadband, said the program is “absolutely vital” to bridging the digital divide. Clark said that because Congress has not yet extended the funding, Lake County has seen a stagnation in people signing up for the benefits. “A lot of peop

Lack of broadband, housing, challenge rural counties on workforce development

Although the lack of broadband, transit, childcare and housing are all stacked against rural counties as they develop the kind of robust workforce that can attract business, planning and relationships between state and local government can help alleviate some of those challenges. That’s the assessment various practitioners in the workforce development field offered during the Rural Action Caucus Symposium in Greenbrier County (WV). West Virginia faces steep challenges in delivering broadband connectivity to residents, given both the population distribution and the geography. Without housing

Counties must speak up with their broadband needs

When it comes to connecting residents to broadband, counties need to speak up with detailed information about their unserved and underserved areas and work closely with their state broadband directors to get their fair share of federal dollars. “Get involved — go to your state broadband director – get to know them,” said Luis Acuña, Southwest regional director for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). “They can weave your needs into their plan.

Closing the Digital Divide Among Priorities for 2023 Farm Bill

The National Association of Counties (NACo), which represents all of America's 3,069 county governments, seeks to work with our federal partners to develop a substantive farm bill to strengthen federal resources that allow counties to make critical investments in our nation's most underserved populations. Counties support bridging the Digital Divide as a key recommendation for the 2023 Farm Bill.  According to the Federal Communications Commission, approximately 14.5 million Americans lack access to broadband speeds of at least 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload, with 11 mi

ARPA Funds Helped Washtenaw County (MI) Build, Track Broadband

As it gears up to meet a goal of full broadband connectivity by 2025, Washtenaw County (MI) has launched a digital map that tracks its progress, thanks to American Rescue Plan Act dollars and general county funds.

High-Speed Internet Is Essential For All Counties

The National Association of Counties' Broadband Task Force was chartered with the premise that "if you can't connect… you can't compete." It is the equity issue of our hour. After months of study and dialogue, our Task Force concluded that a comprehensive, coordinated approach is needed to pursue new broadband infrastructure investment, public policies, and user skills.

Understanding the True State of Connectivity in America

Through the TestIT app, we demonstrated that small counties are disproportionately impacted by the digital divide. With regards to fixed-wireless levels, 59.6 percent of counties were experiencing the internet below 25 mbps including 16 percent of large counties, 44 percent of mid-sized counties and 74 percent of small counties. Regardless of size and demographics, all counties and communities across America should have access to affordable, reliable and high-speed Internet.