Yesterday, the White House announced the formation of a new Broadband Opportunity Council. This new forum of 25 federal agencies builds off the President’s proposed broadband policy agenda, unveiled in January in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and will be co-chaired by the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture.
At Next Century Cities, we know that federal policy can play a key role in shaping the possibilities available to cities and towns seeking to improve access to broadband Internet. We’re hopeful that the Council will serve as opportunity to assist communities in gaining access to fast, affordable, and reliable Internet, through collaboration to identify and eliminate regulatory barriers. By engaging with stakeholders across the country and hearing important local perspectives about how federal policy can better support communities in the quest for fast, affordable, and reliable broadband Internet, the Broadband Opportunity Council can play an important role in facilitating community projects to ensure high-quality Internet for all.
This announcement comes in the wake of last month’s Federal Communications Commission decision upholding the principle of local choice for communities in Tennessee and North Carolina that seek to expand successful gigabit networks. Additionally, as part of the Broadband Opportunity Council announcement, the White House announced upcoming loan opportunities from the Department of Agriculture to support broadband deployment to underserved rural areas. We’re excited by these announcements and hope to see further federal action empowering communities to meet the needs of their citizens and ensure a thriving future.