For Immediate Release
Contact: Deb Socia, 617-251-8358
Next Century Cities Releases New Policy Agenda to Help Communities Harness the Potential of Broadband Internet
New Resource Provides Real-World Policy Ideas for Collaborative Broadband Development
Washington, DC (July 8, 2015) – Next Century Cities, a city-to-city collaborative of 100 mayors who support fast, affordable, and reliable Internet, today released a policy agenda [hyperlink] to guide the deployment of next-generation broadband Internet. “Connecting 21st Century Communities: A Policy Agenda for Broadband Stakeholders” provides concrete policies and actions for local, state, and federal governments, as well as community members and philanthropic organizations, that will support the development of high-quality broadband networks throughout the country. The policy agenda can be found at http://nextcenturycities.org/connecting-21st-century-communities-a-policy-agenda-for-broadband-stakeholders/ and a PDF is available here.
From encouraging broadband-friendly municipal codes, to urging federal policy reform, to outlining the role of philanthropy and citizens in broadband projects, this new toolkit provides a roadmap of steps multiple partners can take to move communities in the direction of next-generation Internet access for all. Expanding high quality Internet access in a community, whether large or small, can yield a multitude of benefits for residents—from improved health services, to new opportunities for small businesses, to higher property values, to a stronger local economy.
“In the 21st century, Internet access has emerged as more than just an information superhighway – it has become critical infrastructure — connecting citizens, businesses, and communities alike to new opportunities,” said Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities. “This new policy agenda from Next Century Cities is designed to give communities across the country a guide for how leaders from all levels of government, as well as other stakeholders, can work together to make tangible progress in creating the broadband infrastructure needed today.”
The development of quality broadband Internet for communities often requires a wide range of stakeholders contributing in a variety of ways, from providing a broadband-friendly regulatory climate, to demonstrating the value of networks, to empowering key voices. This new resource identifies the roles broadband leaders can play to develop broadband at each level of government and in civil society, offers guidance on how policymakers and community members can fulfill these roles, and proposes concrete actions that can lay the groundwork for a broadband-ready future.
The recommendations in the policy agenda are drawn from a wide range of real-world approaches and models, giving communities a series of applicable best practices. The new resource offers specific examples of where and how the recommended policies are already workings, often in Next Century Cities member communities, with the goal of helping municipal leaders across the country learn from each other.
“Connecting 21st Century Communities: A Policy Agenda for Broadband Stakeholders” was developed by Next Century Cities, a bipartisan, non-profit initiative that has grown to 100 member communities since it was founded in October 2014 with the mission of supporting communities and their elected leaders as they seek to establish and leverage gigabit level Internet. Next Century Cities has already held numerous high-level events and been recognized by President Obama. This newly-released policy agenda marks the latest informational resource provided by Next Century Cities to its growing membership.
The policy agenda recommends a number of policy steps that can be taken by allies at all levels of government and others to move broadband forward. Examples detailed in the policy agenda include:
- Local Government can lay the groundwork through the development of policies (like joint use/dig once) and by streamlining the permitting process. In addition, cities can begin to address the need for fast, affordable, reliable Internet in the same way they approach other infrastructure projects, including it in the budget and creating a long range plan.
- State Government can play a critical role in assisting community-led efforts through funding initiatives, elevating the issue, building middle mile connections, and modernizing state-level regulations that set barriers.
- Federal Government can protect market competition, act as a bulwark against state barriers, fill funding gaps, and continue to elevate and strengthen the issue nationwide.
- Philanthropy can be critical advocates for successful broadband projects, including support advocacy and funding high-impact research and studies, as well as empowering and resourcing communities.
- Community level activities including activating organizations such as libraries, schools, and communities of faith. Community education and engagement can also play a key role in expanding access.
Next Century Cities is a city-to-city initiative founded to support communities and their elected leaders, including mayors and other officials, as they seek to ensure that all have access to fast, affordable, and reliable Internet. As innovative municipalities across the country recognize the importance of leveraging gigabit level Internet to attract new businesses and create jobs, improve health care and education, and connect residents to new opportunities, Next Century Cities will celebrate these successes, demonstrate their value, and help other cities to realize the full power of truly high-speed, affordable, and accessible broadband. For more information, visit www.nextcenturycities.org.