Blog

American Broadband Initiative to Expand Connectivity for all Americans

Wed, February 13, 2019

by David Redl, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator

Expanding America’s broadband connectivity is critical to our nation’s economy, and a top priority for President Trump and the Department of Commerce. Today, we join with our partners in government to announce the American Broadband Initiative (ABI), a comprehensive effort to stimulate increased private sector investment in broadband.

NTIA is proud to share leadership of the ABI, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the White House Offices of American Innovation, Management and Budget, Science and Technology Policy, and the National Economic Council. In a report released today, over 20 federal agencies set out strategies for streamlining federal permitting, leveraging federal assets, and maximizing the effectiveness of federal funding for broadband.

We congratulate the Department of Interior on the launch of the new Joint Overview Established Location Map, which pulls data related to federal lands and assets from multiple agencies into a single map. This map will help the broadband industry more easily identify the location of available assets. It is an important first step in one of the Initiative’s core priorities: making it easier for the private sector to leverage federal assets to promote investment.

NTIA also has begun work on a map to update nationwide broadband availability data, initially partnering with eight states – California, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia – to give policymakers a deeper understanding of which parts of the country lack broadband access.

Our mapping work complements a number of significant contributions we are providing to the ABI effort. In early 2019, we will update the BroadbandUSA website to provide a one-stop shop for federal permitting information. We will also update and expand the federal funding information provided on the site. And our new mapping tool will make it easier to ensure that federal funding is directed to the areas of greatest need.

We are also working with land management agencies to streamline application siting procedures, as required by the MOBILE NOW Act. This will make it easier for carriers to use federal resources to expand service in rural areas. The BroadbandUSA program will continue to support industry, state, and local leaders with technical assistance, tools, and programs that help communities plan and build sustainable partnerships.

The American Broadband Initiative and our work to create a National Spectrum Strategy set the stage for the next wave in the technology revolution – one that encourages more private sector investment in fiber, 5G, and other technologies.