State Broadband Expansion Center

Resources for developing a state broadband program

Explore Topics

Phase I – Plan
Overview
Building a Team
Mapping Broadband
Estimating Cost
Funding Sources

[Coming Soon]
Phase II – Design
Phase III – Implement
Phase IV – Manage
Resources

Take Inventory of Team Competencies & Resources

As with any endeavor, planning your state broadband program is infinitely easier when you have the right expertise “in the room” (or Zoom). Below are the core competencies that we believe every planning process will benefit from.

  • Broadband Expertise
  • Financial
  • GIS + Data Engineering
  • Policy/Legal
  • Program Management
  • Development

Broadband Expertise

Being able to understand the business and technical considerations of providers, across technology types, will help inform program design and the feasibility of program goals. Specifically, broadband know-how, particularly knowledge of how different providers operate, will go a long way in informing thoughtful data collection and reporting requirements.

A common question(s) at this stage: Does our team understand different broadband technologies well enough to establish requirements around them? Are we able to assess/interpret submissions from providers confidently?


Financial

Ensuring that cost estimates, business cases, and general financial modeling of the program are viable is just good sense. A lot of public funds will be in play, so investing in due diligence here is strongly recommended.

A common question(s) at this stage: Can we confidently model the cost to build out broadband infrastructure? Do we feel good about how much capital we need and how to justify that to stakeholders?

GIS + Data Engineering

There will be a lot of datasets and data layers needed to assemble and maintain an accurate view of broadband availability in your state. Consider augmenting any internal expertise with added capacity and/or expertise externally to help with structuring and displaying data collection and reporting filings, normalize submissions, and create analytics specific to certain geographies.

A common question(s) at this stage: How can we use Form 477 data, in combination with any data we could get from local providers? Do we feel comfortable about our internal ability to take in, normalize, display, and analyze broadband-specific and/or geospatial data?

Policy/Legal

There will be a combination of state regulation and federal programs (funding, RDOF, Form 477, BDC) that you’ll need to navigate when designing your program or otherwise considering how you might want to align requirements. Access and Right of Way issues will need to be explored. Additionally, you may need legal documents, such as end-user licensing agreements, for any applications you build.

A common question(s) at this stage: Are we up to speed with emerging requirements from the FCC’s Broadband Data Collection (BDC) and other legislation, regulation, or federal programs? What terms of use do we need for any external data sets acquired? What constraints need to be in place for materials (maps, analytics, etc.) that we make public?


Program Management

Once you implement the program, you’ll need to run it. The key considerations here are: who will run the program, when/how to engage key stakeholders, how to vet applications, how will you provide support, and how will you confirm compliance? Depending on what incentive type(s) and funding mechanism(s) are in place, you may need additional support.

A common question(s) at this stage: If you wanted to conduct a reverse auction, how would you design it? How will you receive and vet applications for funding?


Development

Given the nature of this work is very visual, think about how maps would be built and maintained over time and how data collected (from providers or the FCC) should be displayed.

A common question(s) at this stage: What data should be displayed? At what level of granularity? What sort of access should users have? How can data and layers be filtered and searched?

Further Reading:

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