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How Delaware is Promoting Better Broadband State-wide, Including in Rural Areas

in Broadband News/Broadband's Impact/Rural Telecom by

BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: This great piece from a news site devoted to state, county and municipal government tackles what one state is doing in order to advance better broadband throughout its state. All states include a rural component (more or less), and Delaware shows that state-wide broadband planning can help to put broadband deployment on the map.

Delaware Is Dead Set on Putting Your State’s Broadband to Shame, from Route Fifty

Delaware is a national leader in broadband adoption and speed. However, the state is not resting on its laurels, and the chief information officer has a plan to bring broadband connectivity to rural areas using high-speed wireless technologies.

“My hope is in the next 24 months, we’re going to eradicate this rural broadband issue,” James Collins, state chief information officer, told Route Fifty in an interview at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers midyear meeting in Baltimore.

The state has made substantial investments in broadband. According to Collins, they have invested “somewhere between one and four million” in economic development and grant funds. That investment spurred private sector support to the tune of “30 million dollars of investment from the private sector and about 700 miles of fiber.”

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Source: Delaware Is Dead Set on Putting Your State’s Broadband to Shame - Route Fifty

1 Comment

  1. I am grateful the State of Delaware is engaged in resolving their rural broadband problem. I have several fundamental problems with their program as described.
    First, Mr. Collins proclaims the State doesn’t think it’s the governments business to be in competition with the private sector. Yet the state is granting funds to private sector companies to build infrastructure. Doing so establishes a de facto state sponsorship of the grantee and makes it where others cannot compete. Thus, a grant program is still government competition with the private sector – it is simply proxy competition.
    Second, spending state money to subsidize private sector assets cedes control of the policy objectives targeted by said state spending. For example, the government’s objective may be to close the digital divide. The government then grants money to the incumbent provider to build new infrastructure. The incumbent provider will spend that grant money in a way that most efficiently contributes to their bottom line. Doing so may or may not have a direct impact on closing the digital divide.
    Third, the proposed wireless program simply extends the grant problem. The State will select a “winner” and every other applicant will be a loser. The state will then subsidize the winner’s profit model.
    I appreciate the significant multiplication of state invested dollars Delaware has seen through their working with private providers. However, policy objectives driving economic development and improved quality of life may be better met through more aggressive open access solutions.

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