Former Rural Utilities Service admin Rupe talks what states can learn from ReConnect program

All across the country, state governments are scrambling to beef up their broadband offices and stand up new grant programs in anticipation of millions in funding from the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program. Chad Rupe, the former administrator of the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service, has advice for states looking to make their broadband programs a success. According to Rupe, there are a few lessons states can take from the success of the ReConnect program as they navigate the path ahead.

How to Make Broadband a Priority in Affordable Rental Housing Development

Many residents of affordable rental housing nationwide continue to lack access to broadband in their homes, but effective use of a long-standing federal tax credit can help close the gap in those housing units not funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Recognizing the critical importance of high-speed internet access, a HUD rule effective since 2017 requires that broadband infrastructure be installed in new and rehabilitated federally assisted multifamily housing.

New Maryland county grant tackles the ‘long driveway’ broadband gap

Of the numerous challenges that confront broadband expansion in rural areas, long driveways stand as an additional challenge. However, Charles County in Maryland is leading the charge to tackle the issue head-on. The county’s work started several years ago when it established a Rural Broadband Taskforce aimed at closing the connectivity gap there. In 2019, the task force hired a consultant to help it develop a Broadband Strategic Plan, which was subsequently approved in early 2020.

New hot job: State high-speed internet network director

Ensuring that more than $40 billion in new funding connects every American to high-speed internet service is a job that's falling to the states — and they need help. Of all the job openings posted for states' burgeoning broadband offices, the "director" position is the most common vacancy, according to data from The Pew Charitable Trusts. Directors are often responsible for crafting state broadband plans and overseeing hundreds of millions in funding from multiple state and federal programs. The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program (BEAD) will provide $42.45 billion to expand hi

Virginia’s Connected Future: A guide for funders and philanthropists to address digital divides in the Commonwealth

Virginia has made significant strides to curtail the many facets of the digital divide that exist throughout the Commonwealth. As part of the Virginia Funders Network’s (VFN) efforts to support the Commonwealth’s commitment to achieving universal connectivity by 2024, this memo recommends several steps that funders can perform "now:"

The stark disparity across internet access in the US

Sacramento and Seattle are the best cities in the US when it comes to digital and internet equity, offering more widely available and affordable internet access than other major cities in the US, according to a new analysis by the non-profit United Way of the National Capital Area (NCA). Research by the Federal Communications Commission finds that 19 million Americans – approximately 6% of the country’s population – lack access to fixed broadband service at threshold speeds.

Broadband rolls farther into the Iron Range, Minnesota

The broadband landscape across Northeastern Minnesota, and the state in general, has changed significantly since 2014, as gains made in providing access to high-speed connectivity populate communities like the Iron Range. It comes at a time when such internet connections have become critical in business, education, and often in day-to-day life.

Vermont Community Broadband Board Expands Town Match Grant for Vermont Municipalities

The Vermont Community Broadband Board (VCBB) will match town Local Fiscal Recovery American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) fund contributions dedicated to broadband in an expanded town match program as part of the VCBB’s Act 71 Broadband Construction Grant Program. To be matched, the funds must be pledged to the Communications Union District (CUD) serving the town or to an eligible provider committing to build out to all underserved locations in a community if the town is not a member of a CUD.

Maryland to buy laptops for 150,000 households

Governor Larry Hogan (R-MD) said the state’s Office of Statewide Broadband will spend up to $30 million on laptops for about 150,000 households. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, which contains the broadband office, plans to partner with local governments and community groups to distribute the devices to “underserved” households, according to Gov. Hogan.

Telecommuting During COVID-19: How Does It Shape the Future Workplace and Workforce?

Telecommuting relates directly to transportation demand and pattern, congestion mitigation, and population migration, as well as to the sustainability, livability, and prosperity of communities. The objective of this research is to assess the impact of temporarily shifting the workforce to telecommuting in Greater Minnesota on workplace policy changes, employee support, and future telecommuting plans; employees’ experience of telecommuting during COVID-19 and forecast of future telecommuting; and differences among geographic areas, life circumstances, and demographic characteristics.