Broadband Resources for Regional Development Organizations

Posted on: June 22nd, 2021 by Rachel Beyerle

 

Regional Development Organizations (RDOs) across the country are planning for the expansion of broadband internet service to meet the growing needs of employers, businesses, educational facilities, healthcare, community services, transportation, and tourism.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted where gaps in high-speed, reliable internet exist. Regional agencies are partnering with state and local governments to take steps to enhance broadband policy, funding, planning, and implementation. This resource page includes RDO feasibility plan examples, conference presentations, and links to broadband research and publications prepared by the NADO Research Foundation and industry partners.

Have a broadband feasibility study or plan that you would like to share? Email Rachel Beyerle at [email protected] (rbeyerle null@null nado NULL.org) with any additional resources on broadband work in your region or state. New resources will be added over time.

(Last updated August 25, 2021)

RDO Broadband Feasibility Plan Examples

Colorado
Region 10 (https://region10 NULL.net/community-resources/broadband-internet/)

Region 10 (in Western Colorado) has been developing a middle-mile broadband network for several years. NEO Connect (http://neoconnect NULL.us/) has also worked with a number of communities to complete broadband strategies and engineering plans.

Louisiana
Acadiana Planning Commission (http://planacadiana NULL.org/)

APC worked in collaboration with Louisiana and USDA partners to prepare the report Acadiana Broadband Assessment 2021 (http://planacadiana NULL.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Acadiana_Broadband_Assessment_2021 NULL.pdf). The report includes an assessment of existing broadband capacity and access in six parishes, as well as recommendations for the future.

Michigan
Eastern Upper Peninsula Regional Planning & Development Commission
(http://www NULL.eup-planning NULL.org/internetaccess)

EUPRPDC recently worked with the Intermediate School District (ISD) on broadband infrastructure planning. The planning effort (https://www NULL.eupschools NULL.org/eupconnect) itself was funded through an EDA Technical Assistance/Planning grant.  Draft plan PDF

Minnesota
Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission (https://umvrdc NULL.org/)

UMVRDC has worked extensively in the region on the broadband topic and has helped with  planning, convening, and grant writing. Two applications have been submitted for HUD CDBG-CV (CARES Act) applications to build out fiber to the premise in two small cities.

Links to related documents:
Broadband Case Studies (https://umvrdc NULL.org/broadband-case-studies/) includes projects in the region
Blandin on Broadband (https://blandinonbroadband NULL.org/) – Blandin Foundation website has a search feature to find feasibility studies
Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition
Minnesota Office of Broadband Development (https://mn NULL.gov/deed/programs-services/broadband/)

Oregon
Oregon Broadband Office  (https://www NULL.oregon4biz NULL.com/Broadband-Office/)

Texas
Texas Association of Regional Councils (https://txregionalcouncil NULL.org/) hosted a broadband panel the week of June 1, 2021 for regional councils in Texas most active in the broadband space. Handouts from the event:

  • Brazos Valley VCOG Handout (https://nam12 NULL.safelinks NULL.protection NULL.outlook NULL.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Ftxregionalcouncil NULL.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2021%2F06%2FBVCOG_RegionalFiber-REDUCED-SIZE NULL.pdf&data=04%7C01%7CRBeyerle%40nado NULL.org%7C2b72c24d6c974c3814d808d92a8f3a1f%7C8072f21c6f0d489997927331ade058cf%7C1%7C0%7C637587617994706106%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&sdata=%2F8cv0BHWnm%2B4PP5bCu7FZDSsLp1kgqG6d0QY5CkPAqc%3D&reserved=0)
  • Deep East Texas COG Handout (https://nam12 NULL.safelinks NULL.protection NULL.outlook NULL.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Ftxregionalcouncil NULL.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2021%2F06%2FTARC-Handout-DETCOG-Broadband NULL.pdf&data=04%7C01%7CRBeyerle%40nado NULL.org%7C2b72c24d6c974c3814d808d92a8f3a1f%7C8072f21c6f0d489997927331ade058cf%7C1%7C0%7C637587617994716063%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&sdata=MoiaDaWt3xrOLqChC%2Bvs972kSf18k8z9O6x4jk1KQX8%3D&reserved=0)
  • Deep East Texas COG Briefing (https://nam12 NULL.safelinks NULL.protection NULL.outlook NULL.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Ftxregionalcouncil NULL.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2021%2F06%2FBroadband-Briefing-DETCOG-3-16-21 NULL.pdf&data=04%7C01%7CRBeyerle%40nado NULL.org%7C2b72c24d6c974c3814d808d92a8f3a1f%7C8072f21c6f0d489997927331ade058cf%7C1%7C0%7C637587617994716063%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&sdata=LLIZhkL9zmzZ4VGZM%2BbmvWcY4Jq06%2FGIvWnKkkCaUhg%3D&reserved=0)
  • East Texas COG Handout (https://nam12 NULL.safelinks NULL.protection NULL.outlook NULL.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Ftxregionalcouncil NULL.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2021%2F06%2FBroadband-Progress-Report-June NULL.pdf&data=04%7C01%7CRBeyerle%40nado NULL.org%7C2b72c24d6c974c3814d808d92a8f3a1f%7C8072f21c6f0d489997927331ade058cf%7C1%7C0%7C637587617994716063%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&sdata=EpA35U9KgOXQNbsNx9IlLPCrH%2FrG9zzcsYz5ebbNuYU%3D&reserved=0)
  • Houston-Galveston Area Council Handout (https://nam12 NULL.safelinks NULL.protection NULL.outlook NULL.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Ftxregionalcouncil NULL.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2021%2F06%2FH-GAC-Broadband-Handout NULL.pdf&data=04%7C01%7CRBeyerle%40nado NULL.org%7C2b72c24d6c974c3814d808d92a8f3a1f%7C8072f21c6f0d489997927331ade058cf%7C1%7C0%7C637587617994726014%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&sdata=xNgJjQz%2BcoieXJGGlgXDyDwwuFNX6Eqxf3bXC6UueuI%3D&reserved=0)
  • Houston-Galveston Area Council Broadband Website (https://nam12 NULL.safelinks NULL.protection NULL.outlook NULL.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fh-gac NULL.com%2Fbroadband&data=04%7C01%7CRBeyerle%40nado NULL.org%7C2b72c24d6c974c3814d808d92a8f3a1f%7C8072f21c6f0d489997927331ade058cf%7C1%7C0%7C637587617994726014%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&sdata=CklOWzZxpWqHC52gAu%2B4115dI4kLr2x4uPyQ4gEObBg%3D&reserved=0)

Vermont
Windham Regional Commission (http://windhamregional NULL.org/broadband)

The Windham Region Broadband Project was one of the first projects funded by Vermont’s Broadband Innovation Grant (BIG) program (https://publicservice NULL.vermont NULL.gov/content/broadband-innovation-grant-program). The primary objective of the Windham Region Broadband Project was to serve the unserved and underserved areas of the region. The Project’s Feasibility Study and Business Plan are now being used by the Deerfield Valley Communications Union District (DVCUD) to implement broadband infrastructure throughout the Windham Region.

Washington State
Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments (https://www NULL.cwcog NULL.org/)

Cowlitz County Scope of Work (PDF)
Wahkiakum Broadband Feasibility Assessment (PDF)

West Virginia
Eastern Panhandle Regional Planning and Development Council (https://region9wv NULL.com/home)
Jefferson County, WV, completed their broadband strategic plan (http://www NULL.jeffersoncountywv NULL.org/home/showdocument?id=19675) completed in December 2020.

Region One PDC (https://www NULL.regiononepdc NULL.org/)
Regional Optical Communications, Inc. (http://www NULL.wvroc NULL.org/) (15-county consortium)

 

RDO Initiatives

Have an initiative to share? Let us know!

Southern Tier 8 Regional Board (https://southerntier8 NULL.org/)
Binghamton, NY

Better Connection: (https://betterconnection NULL.org/) A public engagement website built to crowdsource internet availability, speed, affordability and use for residents in the region in rural Upstate New York.

 

NADO Conference Presentations

2020 Annual Training Conference
October 20: Bringing Broadband to Rural Communities and Regions (https://www NULL.slideshare NULL.net/nado-web/bringing-broadband-to-rural-communities-and-regions)

2019 Annual Training Conference (Click on Agenda tab and scroll to
October 21): Broadband – Connecting Communities

2019 SWREDA Annual Conference (Click on Agenda tab and scroll.)
Broadband and Economic Development Session

2019 Economic Development Conference for the EDA Denver Region
August 27 Broadband Session

NADO Research Foundation
Case Studies and Reports

Economic Development

Mid-Columbia Economic Development District Maupin Fiber Project (https://www NULL.cedscentral NULL.com/ceds-in-action NULL.html)

Creating Opportunity and Prosperity through Strengthening Rural-Urban Connections

Transportation

Rural and Small Metropolitan Intelligent Transportation Systems Case Studies (http://ruraltransportation NULL.org/rural-its-case-studies/) (Georgia, Ohio, and Wyoming case studies include broadband technology)

Scheduling and Dispatching Deployment and Broadband Expansion in Rural Ohio (http://ruraltransportation NULL.org/scheduling-and-dispatching-deployment-and-broadband-expansion-in-rural-ohio/)

Federal Resources

FCC Mobile Carrier Coverage Map (https://www NULL.fcc NULL.gov/BroadbandData/MobileMaps/mobile-map)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Mobile LTE Coverage Map last week detailing where the largest mobile carriers provide voice and data service in the U.S. The map is part of a broader effort to improve broadband and internet service and to offer consumers a way to search coverage by a specific address or geographic area. The March 2020 Broadband DATA Act (https://www NULL.commerce NULL.senate NULL.gov/2020/3/bill-to-improve-broadband-data-maps-signed-into-law) requires the FCC to collect data from wired, fixed wireless and satellite broadband providers, and to use that data to create new maps showing broadband availability.

Broadband USA – National Telecommunications and Information Administration
(https://broadbandusa NULL.ntia NULL.doc NULL.gov/)

Broadband USA is a website of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce that promotes innovation and economic growth and supports efforts to expand broadband connectivity. BroadbandUSA serves state, local, and tribal governments, industry, and nonprofits through grant programs (https://broadbandusa NULL.ntia NULL.doc NULL.gov/resources/grant-programs), resources, and webinars (https://broadbandusa NULL.ntia NULL.doc NULL.gov/events/latest-events).

NTIA Funding Database (https://www NULL.ntia NULL.doc NULL.gov/)

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration keeps a database with information on more than 80 federal programs across 14 federal agencies whose funding can be used for broadband-related purposes.

USDA Broadband
(https://www NULL.usda NULL.gov/broadband)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture website includes funding opportunities, recent research, and toolkits.

USDA ReConnect Program (https://www NULL.usda NULL.gov/reconnect)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) ReConnect Program provides loans and grants to construct, improve or acquire facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas. USDA has announced $167 million in broadband infrastructure funding in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia. The investments are part of $550 million Congress allocated to the second round of the ReConnect Program as well as other funds made available for the program since 2018.

USDA, FCC, NTIA Interagency Agreement to Deploy Broadband (https://www NULL.rd NULL.usda NULL.gov/sites/default/files/bicasection904iaafcc_ntia_usdasigned NULL.pdf)

USDA, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and NTIA announced an interagency agreement on June 24, 2021 to share information about and coordinate the distribution of broadband deployment federal funds. In accordance with the Broadband Interagency Coordination Act, the respective Cabinet and agency leaders will consult with one another and share information about the distribution of new funds from the FCC’s high-cost programs that support broadband buildout in rural areas, the USDA’s Rural Utilities Services grant and loan programs, and programs administered or coordinated by NTIA.

Additional Resources

Pew Charitable Trusts
How States Are Expanding Broadband Access (https://www NULL.pewtrusts NULL.org/en/research-and-analysis/reports/2020/02/how-states-are-expanding-broadband-access)

This report explores promising practices in nine states: California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Pew identified the practices through conversations with more than 300 broadband stakeholders, including representatives of state broadband programs, internet service providers (ISPs), local governments, and broadband coalitions.

National Conference of State Legislatures
Broadband 2021 Legislation (https://www NULL.ncsl NULL.org/research/telecommunications-and-information-technology/broadband-2021-legislation NULL.aspx) (search by state)

To view PDFs, use a PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader (http://get NULL.adobe NULL.com/reader).

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Rachel Beyerle Senior Program Manager
Work Phone: 202.921.4447 Work Fax: 202.921.4455
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