8 steps your governor should be taking to expand broadband
Affordability programs and inter-agency collaboration are among the best practices states have pursued to expand broadband internet access for online learning since the COVID outbreak.
District leaders can urge state officials to promote these and several other broadband expansion strategies that are detailed in a new report by the National Governors Association and Western Governors University. The strategies include:
- Coordinating and expanding broadband affordability programs
- Improving broadband coverage maps
- Identifying funding and financing sources for broadband deployment
- Establishing robust, cross-cutting governance structures.
- Initiating partnerships with other state agencies, local and county governments, and other entities to kickstart broadband investments.
- Leveraging anchor institutions to provide rapid community internet service.
- Leveraging electric utilities’ infrastructure and services to facilitate deployments of broadband networks
- Deploying innovative procurement strategies
The report covers initiatives led by governors in Virginia, Arkansas, Minnesota, North Carolina, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Missouri, Illinois, Mississippi, North Dakota and Indiana.
The governors’ report also covers how states can make broadband access equitable and how to provide digital literacy training for newly connected individuals.
The report also details how states have used CARES Act funding to expand broadband access. For example, Alabama allocated up to $300 million for remote learning and established a broadband working group to guide CARES Act broadband funding.
Michigan, meanwhile, is spending $25 million to connect school children and their families and provide devices for remote learning. The state is offering incentives to communities with higher poverty rates. Nevada has committed $50 million to K-12 schools to create alternative instruction.
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