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Workshop Explores Expanding Broadband Access in Nevada

Wed, October 09, 2019

Broadband is necessary to support local communities and economies, enhance public safety, and create innovative opportunities for education and workforce development. Western states have unique challenges when it comes to building broadband networks. Rural communities, rugged terrain, and extensive federal ownership of land complicate establishing broadband connections.

To address these challenges, NTIA’s BroadbandUSA program convened the Nevada Broadband Workshop in September 2019 in collaboration with the Nevada Governor’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology. The workshop discussed broadband planning strategies to accelerate connectivity.

Nevada’s U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Jackie Rosen attended the workshop, emphasizing the importance of bringing broadband access to state residents. Their participation in the workshop shows how vital broadband connectivity is out West, and how important partnerships between federal, state, and local leaders as well as private business is in addressing the digital divide.

Representatives from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) discussed updates to the federal permitting process for broadband networks on federal land through work under the American Broadband Initiative (ABI) on streamlining federal permitting. Specifically, the ABI is working to revise Form “SF 299,” which will serve as the common application form for agencies that manage federal land. BLM and USFS representatives encouraged workshop participants to engage with their agencies as early in their broadband projects as possible.

NTIA’s BroadbandUSA offers technical assistance to communities and local and state governments looking to get started with building a broadband plan, including federal permitting. For more information, interested, email us at BroadbandUSA@ntia.gov.