Government Funding for Broadband Network Providers Serving Community Anchor Institutions
Governments can provide funding directly to broadband providers to deploy robust broadband networks for anchor institutions when the commercial market is not able to do so. Recommendations include creating competitive grant programs, promoting public-private partnerships, considering non-traditional financing such as preferential tax treatment and loan guarantees, and allowing non-traditional providers to participate in broadband funding programs.Read Full Policy Paper
Recommendations for Action
To support the development of high capacity, affordable broadband infrastructure for community anchor institutions, federal, state and local policymakers can:
- Provide government funding to broadband network providers to stimulate network deployment that benefits anchor institutions, especially in unserved or underserved areas.
- Supplement government funds by helping secure additional and/or matching funds, whether from private or grant sources, to build out necessary broadband infrastructure.
- Offer open eligibility requirements in regard to the types of entities that can apply for funding to increase the number and quality of proposals.
- Ensure that grantees are strong enough and have the expertise to sustain a project for the long-run after the initial funding has been exhausted.
- Require recipients of funding to include anchor institutions in the design and planning of the network build- out.
- Work with stakeholders – including anchor institutions and the broadband industry – to understand how the provision of high-quality broadband to anchor institutions can help reach non-broadband policy goals, such as those related to distance learning or telemedicine services.
- Develop a scored grant program that allows the grantor to target awards to entities that present the best case for funding.
- Ensure that government-funded networks have open access and interconnection policies that facilitate competition and promote service to surrounding business and residential consumers.
- Act as facilitators to help coalitions of entities apply for broadband infrastructure funding.
- Keep up relationships with grantees to help identify and solve issues before they become problems.
|2016||Connecting Carbondale Playbook|
|2016||Connect NY Broadband Program||Website|
|2016||California Advanced Services Fund (CASF)||Website|
|2016||ConnetME Broadband Planning Grants||Website|
|2016||Minnesota's Broadband Grant Program||Website|
|2014||NTIA Report: Oregon's LCOG network provides middle mile connectivity|
|2013||Illinois Gov Quinn's "Gigabit Cities Challenge"||Article|
|2008||MA Gov Deval Patrick Signs Broadband Access Law|
- Taxali, Sandeep “Broadband Infrastructure Case Studies Released – How Broadband Changes the Game” National Telecommunications and Information Administration, April 13, 2015. Several case studies detailing the impact of BTOP projects. https://www.ntia.doc.gov/ blog/2015/broadband-infrastructure-case-studies-released-how-broadband-changes-game
- ASR Analytics, National Telecommunications and Information Administration Broadband Technology Opportunities Program Evaluation Study, September 15, 2014. Offers a comprehensive analysis of the impact of BTOP including economic benefits. http://www2.ntia.doc.gov/files/asr_final_report.pdf
- Ben Lennett, Patrick Lucey, Joanne Hovis, and Andrew Afflerbach, The Art of the Possible: An Overview of Public Broadband Options, New America Foundation and CTC Technology and Energy, May 5, 2014. Gives detailed examples of how CAIs and communities benefit from government-funded broadband, as well as a general overview of different business models for broadband infrastructure development that involve the public sector. https://www.newamerica.org/downloads/TheArtofthePossible-Overviewof PublicBroadbandOptions_NAFOTI-CTC.pdf
- CTC Technology and Energy, Recommendation: The Potential for Pilot Funding for Gigabit Networking in Connecticut, March 9, 2016. Useful guidance for states thinking about offering funding for broadband infrastructure and why this policy mechanism can be beneficial. Also includes examples and lessons learned from other state programs. http://www.ct.gov/occ/lib/occ/2016-0309_ctc_report__pilot_funding_program.pdf
About the Author
Trained in cultural anthropology and new media, Amelia Bryne is co-Director of DeepTech.org, a research consultancy that focuses on the social and environmental impacts of information and communications technologies. She has worked with the American Library Association Office for Information Technology Policy, the University of Helsinki, the Social Science Research Council, the Community Wireless Infrastructure Research Project, byDesign eLab, and other public interest research projects and institutions. Her research has been published in journals such as Telematics & Informatics, Policy & Internet, and the Journal of Community Informatics.
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