Today, Next Century Cities launched a new resource: Becoming Broadband Ready: A Toolkit for Communities. The toolkit is a one-stop resource for community leaders seeking to connect residents to broadband.

Becoming Broadband Ready was publicly released at an event in Washington, DC. The launch event included a panel of community leaders – Dr. Robert Wack, City Council President, Westminster, Maryland; Don Patten, General Manager, MINET; and McClain Bryant Macklin, former Director of Policy, Office of Mayor Sly James, Kansas City, Missouri, now Director, Policy and Research, the Greater Kansas City Civic Council, who spoke about challenges and best practices discovered while developing broadband projects in their communities. The panel was moderated by Christopher Mitchell, Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative, Institute of Local Self Reliance & Policy Director, Next Century Cities. Find a recording of the launch event here.

Broadband access has become an essential utility and a bedrock ingredient for resilient communities. Mayors and community leaders across the country are looking for solutions to connect residents to fast, affordable, and reliable internet access. Becoming Broadband Ready was developed with input from Next Century Cities’ member communities and features best practices and strategies from a diverse array of successful projects.

While every broadband project is different, there are common threads that run through success stories. From staffing to permitting practices to financing models, Becoming Broadband Ready compiles the building blocks of a successful broadband project into an easy-to-use and impactful resource for any community.

Becoming Broadband Ready provides resources to:

  • Establish Leadership
  • Build a Community Movement
  • Identify Goals
  • Evaluate the Current Circumstance
  • Establish Policies and Procedures to Support Investment
  • Prioritize Digital Inclusion
  • Identify Legislative and Regulatory Barriers
  • Explore Connectivity Options
  • Explore Financing Options
  • Be a Clear Collaborator
  • Measure Success

These “building blocks” for a successful project are broken down into clear, concise sections that are presented in chronological order, with the most fundamental ingredients first and more nuanced considerations later.

Each section includes one or more “Further Reading” lists for those who wish to dive deeper into a particular topic. This keeps the toolkit short and digestible while including a rich network of resources and case studies.

Each section also includes a checklist of action steps and goals that communities can consider during that particular stage of the process. There is also a full Next Century Communities Checklist at the end of the toolkit.

This toolkit is designed to be iterative. New technologies and network models mean that best practices are always evolving. Next Century Cities will continue to add information, links, and sections to this toolkit so that it remains a core resource for communities into the future.

Find the full toolkit here.

Have a suggestion for the toolkit? We’d love to hear it. Email us at