Universal Broadband


Next Century Cities

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 13:00 to 15:00


Mayors and community leaders across the country are looking for solutions to connect residents to fast, affordable, and reliable internet access. Becoming Broadband Ready was developed to be a first-stop resource for these leaders, and features best practices and strategies from a diverse array of successful projects.

1:00 Welcome

The Partisan Divide: Looking Back at Broadband Policy in 2018

Upon reflection, it is easy to see that 2018 was a year of widening divides. Communications policy was no exception. In the midst of a partial government shutdown, we take a look at how partisan division at the Federal Communications Commission is shutting down progress towards closing the digital divide. While we expect partisan division to persist, the change in House leadership means we are likely to see more scrutiny of Chairman Pai's deregulatory agenda.

States Make the Right Moves

California, Washington and Indiana recently enacted legislation to help facilitate community broadband networks: 

Cooperatives and Rural Broadband

Underserved communities can provide broadband for themselves through nonprofit, cooperative entities. Many co-ops that were originally set up to provide phone service and distribute electricity now deliver broadband as well. Rural electric and telephone cooperatives are fiberizing rural America. Following are a few examples of the hundreds of successful cooperative projects. 

Communities Join Forces For Broadband

Regional efforts to develop broadband infrastructure are becoming more common.

The digital divide in Indian Country

With the recent release of the American Community Survey’s five-year (2013–2017) rolling average data for small areas, new figures show that broadband access rates differ significantly among American Indian reservations but are, on average, low relative to national norms.The Census Bureau has shown that counties’ rates of broadband access are positively correlated with income. We have found the correlation between income and broadband access for reservations is very similar as to counties. This implies that the lower average levels of broadband access in reservations is likely attributable

Global universal internet access unlikely until at least 2050, experts say

Parts of the world will be excluded from the internet for decades to come without major efforts to boost education, online literacy and broadband infrastructure, experts have warned. While half the world’s population now uses the internet, a desperate lack of skills and stagnant investment mean the United Nation’s goal of universal access, defined as 90% of people being online, may not be reached until 2050 or later, they said.

Broadband Internet Access and the Digital Divide: Federal Assistance Programs

With the conclusion of the grant and loan awards established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, there remain two primary ongoing federal vehicles which direct federal money to fund broadband infrastructure: the broadband and telecommunications programs at the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Universal Service Fund (USF) programs under the Federal Communications Commission. RUS broadband programs were reauthorized and modified by the 2018 farm bill.

5G will be the next revolution in global communications, but the US may be left behind

Harvard Law School's Susan Crawford has written a new book,  “Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution — and Why America Might Miss It.” She's assembled her concerns about US connectivity, along with her suggestions how to alleviate them. The data-carrying capacity of the next generation of fiber-optics, known as “5G” (as the fifth generation of wireless telecommunications technology), will give countries that invest in those advanced networks a huge advantage over those that don’t.

Sixth Annual School Networking Infrastructure Survey

Increased investment from the E-rate program’s modernization is helping to improve school Wi-Fi and broadband connectivity. 69 percent of school system leaders are “very confident” in their wireless network’s ability to support one device per student. Ninety-two percent of school systems are meeting the Federal Communications Commission’s short-term goal of broadband connectivity (100 Mbps per 1,000 students in a district), as well as making strides in the FCC’s long-term goals. School districts are still facing significant infrastructure challenges.