How Do State Policies Shape Broadband Access?

Collected research on laws and policies for expanding high-speed internet

Over the past several years, states have steadily increased their efforts to expand broadband access. State policy serves two critical functions in shaping broadband policy: determining how broadband will be deployed and clarifying how stakeholders may conduct and participate in deployment efforts.

Although policies vary, noticeable patterns exist across all 50 states, including establishment of state programs, defining of acceptable speeds and other goals, creation of funding and financing programs, designation of approved providers, and regulation of access to the infrastructure that providers need to build and maintain broadband networks. Trends in these policies offer lessons for improving broadband availability, outcomes of public programs, and grantee accountability. 

In this series of publications, we explore these differences and trends in state broadband policy.

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Fact Sheet

3 Key Components to Effective State Broadband Programs

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Fact Sheet

States throughout the country have created programs to expand broadband connectivity for their residents. And although the configuration of these programs varies, research has indicated that the most successful ones include the same core components: a state-level broadband office with full-time staff, systems to support local and regional planning and technical assistance, and well-funded competitive grant programs for internet service providers, such as telephone and cable companies, wireless internet service providers, electric cooperatives, and municipal utilities

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Article

State Strategies for Improving Broadband Access

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Article

States differ in how they manage broadband deployment and which agencies or offices they task with identifying challenges, charting goals, and encouraging investment. Some states have a centralized office responsible for managing or coordinating broadband efforts. In others, multiple agencies have jurisdiction over broadband. More than half of states have established dedicated funds to support deployment of high-speed internet, and many have developed goals, plans, and maps for expansion of access.

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Report

How States Are Expanding Broadband Access

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Report

Broadband is increasingly intertwined with the daily functions of modern life. It is transforming agriculture, supporting economic development initiatives, and is a critical piece of efforts to improve health care and modernize transportation. But the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimates that 21 million Americans still lack broadband access.