Advocating for Accurate Broadband Data & Pricing Information

Accurate data that identifies where broadband access is or is not available is central to not only bolstering applications for broadband funding, but also to understanding the unique challenges different parts of the country experience with expanding broadband access. For instance, residents in states with largely rural areas and difficult terrain may be considered “served” under the FCC’s map even though the provider that serves that area may charge exorbitant fees to initiate a connection. In other communities, affordability barriers or digital literacy may be a persistent obstacle. Given that local officials are better able to identify barriers to access and adoption, NCC urges policy makers to engage with local governments in order to collect information rather than relying on broad assumptions about deployment.

Price remains a major barrier to adoption. Broadband mapping is incomplete without determining whether those connections are affordable. Now that broadband access is indispensable for working, learning, obtaining healthcare and access to government services, local officials are working to understand how affordability interferes with broadband adoption.

Long before the pandemic, NCC helped policymakers at all levels of government to understand why internet access has shifted from being a luxury to a necessity. Our publications illustrate that when robust broadband connections are unaffordable, under-resourced households and communities are put further at a disadvantage.

 

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Build a Community Movement

Posted September 04, 2020

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Community interest in and support of high-speed internet is imperative when attempting to attract investment and competition, and is critical to the long-term sustainability of local projects. Hosting events, engaging the community in conversation, and maintaining high transparency can bolster constituent engagement.

Charlotte, North Carolina began a grassroots campaign called Charlotte Hearts Gigabit when Google Fiber announced that they were considering expanding to the city. Community members were concerned that there wasn’t enough citizen interest in high-speed internet, so Charlotte Hearts Gigabit was formed to begin a conversation in the hopes that it would help attract Google.

Charlotte Hearts Gigabit engaged citizens by talking about how gigabit internet would positively impact individuals and the community. The group discussed specific use cases and hosted in-person events and hands-on demonstrations of applications and technology powered by high-speed internet.

Not only did Google Fiber decide to invest in Charlotte, but AT&T announced plans to offer fiber service in the city, and Time Warner Cable increased its speeds. The robust community interest in high-speed internet encouraged investment in the city and eventually led to a more competitive local market. The initiative has since expanded into a statewide effort – NC Hearts Gigabit – to attract, support, and champion the universal availability of broadband in North Carolina.

Next Century Cities is a non-profit membership organization of over 190 communities, founded to support communities and their elected leaders, including mayors and other officials, as they seek to ensure that all have access to fast, affordable, and reliable internet access. Next Century Cities celebrates broadband successes in communities, demonstrates their value, and helps other cities to realize the full power of truly high-speed, affordable, and accessible broadband. For more information, visit www.nextcenturycities.org .

Even if a project isn’t yet underway, maintaining transparency through consistent updates helps maintain interest and trust. For example, Larimer County, Colorado created a newsletter to share updates about broadband projects. While Fort Collins was considering building a network, the city launched an interactive map on which residents could drop pins where they wanted fiber built, in addition to a broadband project website that could be visited for updates and information. The city also hosted several public outreach sessions to engage citizens.

A grassroots group was also formed in Fort Collins to keep the momentum going. The group Broadband & Beers is a self-described “independent, public outreach group founded… to inform residents and educate decision-makers about bringing municipal gigabit internet service to communities across the country.” The group hosted frequent events at breweries to talk about the city’s path to municipal broadband, and also led a social media campaign that organically reached tens of thousands of voters.

YOUR DONATION MAKE HELP US

YOUR DONATION MAKE HELP US

YOUR DONATION MAKE HELP US

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