The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has published two broadband orders. The first, titled “Narrowing the Digital Divide Through Installation of Broadband Infrastructure in HUD-Funded New Construction and Substantial Rehabilitation of Multifamily Rental Housing Order,” would require any new or substantially rehabilitated public housing project to include infrastructure capable of supporting broadband access for residents.

 

Next Century Cities wrote comments in support of this proposal in July 2016 saying:

“HUD correctly notes that installing telecommunications equipment during major rehabilitations or as units are being built creates an opportunity to ensure high quality access without significantly adding cost to the project. The ongoing benefits from high quality Internet access certainly dwarf the one-time low cost of installing appropriate technology.”

 

The second order, titled “Modernizing HUD’s Consolidated Planning Process To Narrow the Digital Divide and Increase Resilience to Natural Hazards,” mandates that beginning January 2018 all Consolidated Plans filed must include broadband planning, including documentation, data, and evidence of consultations with public and private stakeholders. Consolidated Plans help states and local governments assess their affordable housing and community development needs in order to make better, data-driven decisions. Under the new rules, state and local groups must consult broadband service providers, organizations seeking to close the digital divide and promote digital inclusion, and must provide data describing the internet needs in low- and moderate-income housing. “Next Century Cities is excited to see the important steps the Department of Housing and Urban Development has taken to close the digital divide,” Executive Director Deb Socia said. “We look forward to working with our mayors and community leaders as they implement these rules, and will continue to work to ensure all citizens have access to broadband internet at home.”