Federal, state, and local policymakers are tasked with distributing billions of dollars of infrastructure funds for broadband connectivity. This Guidebook offers a roadmap through dozens of policy questions and lessons learned from federal and state broadband programs that have been funded and implemented over the last several decades.
Several core recommendations emerge from this history of broadband policymaking.
- Rely on evidence from a long history of telecommunications policies and regulations, admitting what we know and what we do not yet know about the effects and effectiveness of subsidies.
- Acknowledge trade-offs. Some goals may be inconsistent with others.
- Create a coherent weighting system to compare proposals. Ideally, weights are based on how much consumers value various aspects of broadband.
- Rely on state procurement expertise. Like other state procurements, use competitive bidding for broadband services in order to require suppliers to compete against each other for contracts.
- Build evaluation into any program. The key to program evaluation is transparency, such as making all proposals public whether they are funded or not.
- Work together. Avoid duplicative efforts across states, and seek economies of scale from joint efforts with other states, federal agencies, and the private sector.