State Broadband Expansion Center
Resources for developing a State Broadband Program
Define Broadband: What does “served” mean now and in the future?
When planning a broadband program, States face two decisions in deﬁning what being “served” with broadband means in their state: what is good enough, and what does future-prooﬁng look like? Most often, served is defined in terms of speed offered (e.g., the FCC’s current threshold is 25Mbps download/3Mbps upload), which means that any areas reportedly have a provider offering service at said speed would not be eligible in a funding program.
The second consideration when planning a broadband program is to think through what speed is needed for the demands of the future (future-proofing your network). This will inﬂuence area eligibility, potential reserve prices, and ultimately, the total amount of funding needed.
A common question(s) at this stage: How fast is “fast enough”? Should our program mirror FCC (or other) federal deﬁnitions?
How many people should be served?
When planning ideally, states and providers are aiming to bring high-speed, reliable, and affordable broadband service to 100% of communities. While this is possible and may very well happen in the future, most states will not have enough funding to subsidize every area that the market isn’t already serving. Pick a speed threshold here and expect to revisit it once ﬁnancial modeling is complete.
A common question(s) at this stage: How many locations have access to broadband service and at what speed? How confident do you feel in the accuracy of that number?
Define program timeline
Similar to the above, some timeframe will need to be set to provide structure for the program. How will rollout work? Will funding be distributed all at once or in phases? How quickly should build-out occur? Set your initial timeline and adjust as needed.
A common question(s) at this stage: Are there funding or budget constraints that will inﬂuence the stability of our timeline? Does this timeline match up with what is realistic for providers? Are there any state-level processes that might slow down buildout?