Since COVID-19 introduced itself, the Fiber Broadband Association has hosted a weekly webinar to discuss a variety of issues related to broadband deployment. Next Century Cities (NCC) and Public Knowledge were invited to join the 23rd installment of the “Fiber for Breakfast” series. 

On September 2, 2020, NCC’s Executive Director Francella Ochillo presented on how stakeholders at every level of government could help to close the digital divide. She also identified specific ways in which state and federal government entities should support local efforts to expand broadband access and increase adoption. 

Click here to view the PowerPoint presentation. Key takeaways include:

How Can States Support Local Connectivity Initiatives?

  • Help improve broadband mapping. 
  • Identify and help eliminate barriers to expanding access and increasing adoption.
  • Support local connectivity solutions including municipal broadband or broadband cooperatives.

Examples of What Local Governments Need from the FCC:

  • Local officials must be included in policy-making.
  • Municipalities need access to network infrastructure funding that complements state programs.
  • The FCC should incorporate pricing info into the broadband data collection process and reevaluate the 25/3 Mbps benchmark speeds.

Congress Plays a Central Role in Closing the Digital Divide.

  • Recognize that we cannot depend on the generosity of private sector and philanthropic partners to reach unserved and underserved populations.
  • Like plans for rural electrification or the interstate highway system, Congress should make closing the digital divide a national priority and develop a centralized strategy.
  • Congress should also appropriate resources for local and state connectivity initiatives.

View the webinar recording here