March 30, 2022
Ensuring Federal Broadband Spending Connects America’s Unserved Communities
Congress has made billions of dollars available to subsidize broadband deployment through a variety of different programs, each with different requirements and agencies overseeing their execution. In a new insight, Director of Technology and Innovation Policy Jeffrey Westling highlights the potential pitfalls regulators should avoid as funds are distributed and some common-sense policies that could be implemented at both the federal and state levels.
- In addition to differing designs of the broadband deployment programs and the multitude of agencies involved in distributing the funds, a lack of coordination could lead to overlapping support for already-connected communities or a failure to get deployment to areas that need it most.
- Congress and the administration should work to ensure effective coordination among agencies so that the underlying goals of the different programs don’t lead to contradictory approaches that could stifle deployment.
- Agencies should also work with state and local lawmakers to incentivize additional private investment so that subsidy funds are directed to more difficult-to-connect communities in which private deployments are not viable without government support.
See Westling’s related work, Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program