New paper explores how!

Despite tremendous efforts and good intentions, the quest for equitable and affordable broadband access remains incomplete but as important as ever in our digital world. The latest US Ignite paper, “The Middle Mile as a Catalyst: Municipal Investments for Broadband Equity,” offers a blueprint for cities and counties to expand Internet access by leveraging a municipally-enabled, middle-mile fiber backbone without bearing the full burden of infrastructure costs. The approach could help bridge the persistent digital divide affecting numerous communities nationwide.  

Drawing on case studies from Fort Worth and Lake Cities, Texas, and Joplin, Missouri, Middle Mile as a Catalyst highlights the efficacy of following this approach. In both examples, the municipalities successfully secured long-term fiber assets contract guarantees to extend high-speed, scalable broadband access to all corners of their communities. The two communities enhanced public safety, public works, and smart city operations with broadened Internet access.

In addition to the case studies, Middle Mile as a Catalyst outlines the critical elements for municipalities to consider when investing in middle-mile fiber:  

  1. Assess broadband needs: identify unreliable service areas, outdated infrastructure, and barriers to digital literacy and device affordability. 
  2. Build local support: endorsements from grassroots movements and elected officials can help secure necessary funding and build a strong case for implementation and deployment. 
  3. Engage stakeholders: it is crucial to keep the community leaders informed and involved, especially any advocate stakeholders that can champion and guide the project from conception to completion. 
  4. Make a financial plan: allocate capital funds efficiently and adopt outcome-based procurement to tailor to the community’s specific broadband solution needs. 
  5. Create clear goals: set clear goals throughout the project – ensure comprehensive articulation of needs and assets and follow a learning-oriented approach to procurement.

The significance of middle-mile investments in achieving broadband equity and affordability should not be overlooked. Middle Mile as a Catalyst offers an essential guide for local leaders looking to address broadband Internet issues in their communities with innovative approaches. 

“The Middle Mile as a Catalyst: Municipal Investments for Broadband Equity and Affordability” is a collaborative project with, Mighty River LLC, and US Ignite.

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Middle Mile as a Catalyst: 

  • provides a blueprint for municipalities to enhance broadband accessibility
  • outlines critical steps for municipalities to invest in broadband successfully
  • underscores the importance of middle-mile investments in achieving broadband equity and affordability
  • highlights case studies demonstrating the success in diverse settings

Download now!