• Federal Permitting: Overview

    The federal government owns or controls about 640 million acres of land in the United States, about 28 percent of the total land area of 2.27 billion acres.  The Department of the Interior (DOI) is responsible for managing nearly 500 million acres of land, or one in every five acres of land in the United States.  The U.S. Forest Service, part of the Department of Agriculture (USDA), manages about 192.9 million acres of national forests.  Most of the public lands that DOI manages are located west of the Mississippi River in 11 western states and Alaska.  Although Forest Service holdings are mostly in the Western United States, it also manages about 60 percent of all federal lands in the Eastern United States.  Of the nearly 27 million acres of land that the Department of Defense (DOD) manages, it owns 11.4 million acres, about two percent of all federal land.  Together, DOI, USDA, and DOD manage 97 percent of federal land.

    Federal lands and assets play a critical role in telecommunications networks – through rights-of-way across lands and siting equipment on lands and buildings.  An Internet Service Provider (ISP) deploying or expanding a wireline or wireless network in rural American may need to work with several federal and state agencies to secure the permits and authorizations needed to deploy broadband infrastructure.

    Multiple federal property-holding agencies must approve the placement of facilities on their lands and buildings, and often negotiate lease agreements with those seeking access.  As noted, the major land and property holding agencies include the Department of Agriculture (U.S. Forest Service); Department of Defense; General Services Administration (GSA); Department of Interior (Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), National Park Service (NPS), U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW), and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)).  The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) may also be involved in siting decisions through its utility accommodation policy within federal-aid rights-of-way. 

    All the major federal land-holding agencies have committed to use the SF299 for requests to locate broadband facilities on federal property, with the exception of DOD, which doesn’t use an application form to initiate its permitting process.
    SF-299 Form

    Federal Register: A Notice by the Forest Service on 04/25/2019
    Information Collection: Application for Transportation, Utility Systems, Telecommunications and Facilities on Federal Lands and Property

    Notice: request for comment. 
    Revision of SF-299, Application for Transportation, Utility Systems, Telecommunications and Facilities on Federal Lands and Property,into a common form.
    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Forest Service is seeking comments from all interested individuals and organizations on the new informationStart Printed Page 17377collection related to the Application for Transportation, Utility Systems, Telecommunications and Facilities on Federal Lands and Property.

    Department of Agriculture (USDA) 
    Department of Defense (DOD) 
    Department of the Interior (DOI) 
    Department of Transportation (DOT) 
    General Services Administration (GSA) 
    Relevant Agencies:
    Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (FPISC) 
    Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) 
    Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) 
    Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 



  • Webinars Archives

    Practical Broadband Conversations

    BroadbandUSA presents a webinar on the third Wednesday of every month at 2 p.m. Eastern Time on a range of topics of interest to policymakers, decision-makers, practitioners and consumers. 

    What: Practical Broadband Conversations are monthly, hourlong webinars presenting practitioners speaking and taking questions on the range of topics addressed by BroadbandUSA, including best practices for improving broadband deployment, digital literacy, digital inclusion and e-government

    Who: The webinars are open to the public and press.

    When: BroadbandUSA will hold the webinars from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern Time on the third Wednesday of every month.

    Registration: The registration link for the next webinar is under Events on the BroadbandUSA homepage. Pre-registration is recommended. NTIA asks registrants to provide their first and last names, city, state, job title, and email addresses for both registration purposes and to receive any updates on BroadbandUSA. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

    For more information: Please contact Elaine Sloan at General questions and comments are welcome at any time via email to

        July 17, 2019

        FirstNet Deployment - Status of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband NetworkIn 2012, Congress created the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to develop, build and operate a nationwide, broadband network that equips first responders to save lives and protect U.S. communities. FirstNet has made significant strides in delivering on this mandate. Today, nearly 7,250 agencies utilize more than 600,000 connections on the FirstNet network. In addition, over 100 devices with public safety-focused features and functions are approved and certified for use on the FirstNet network. The webinar will provide an overview of FirstNet's accomplishments to date, as well as provide insights from a first-responder network user.

          June 19, 2019

          Building Smart Cities and Communities at the Regional Level: Regional teams that span jurisdictions and disciplines are working together on projects to address issues that impact an entire region such as economic development, resiliency, health, public safety, connectivity, agriculture, mobility, and more. Join BroadbandUSA to learn about these efforts and others that cross jurisdictional boundaries to create efficiencies, improve sustainability, and increase the quality of life for all residents.

          May 15, 2019

          Infrastructure Week: Leveraging Public Assets to Accelerate Broadband Deployment: State and local governments are developing new policies that provide access to rights-of-way and leverage assets in order to incentivize broadband deployment. While it is in the public’s interest to speed up access to broadband, it is a balancing act. Policymakers need to consider cost, aesthetics, digital equity, and environmental mandates. This BroadbandUSA webinar will help you learn how local, state, and federal leaders are creating broadband access for all.

          April 17, 2019

          HBCU Model Programs and Practices for Building a Competitive Cybersecurity Workforce
          The expansion of 5G and the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) is creating an increasing need for secure networks across many platforms and technologies.Innovative programs for cybersecurity awareness, education, training, and workforce development are essential to protect and defend against potential cyber-attacks, but finding qualified people to work in this area is increasingly difficult. This webinar highlights educational programs that address training for cybersecurity professionals focusing on contributions made by Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). You will also learn how the Minority Cybersecurity Council is working to bridge the gap between industry, government and education in order to inform the minority community about the growing employment and training opportunities in cybersecurity.

          March 20, 2019
          American Broadband Initiative: The Administration’s Strategy for Promoting Broadband Connectivity
          Learn about the newly launched American Broadband Initiative and Milestones Report, which details the Administration’s strategy to expand broadband connectivity across the country. NTIA will provide an overview of the Initiative’s goals and will be joined by officials from key Agencies who are contributing to its mission.

          February 20, 2019
          Measuring the Digital Divide: Review of Recent Surveys and Data
          NTIA and the U.S. Census Bureau will present information on two large-scale consumer studies focused on computer and Internet use in America. The speakers will highlight the latest data from the surveys about who’s online, who’s not, how and where people access and use the Internet, what concerns they have, and more. Experts will show you how to access the data yourself, point you to open data resources, and answer questions.

                November 14, 2018
                Broadband Connectivity is Transforming Healthcare
                Broadband connectivity is critical for many reasons, including access to quality healthcare. From remote patient monitoring to mobile health applications accessed via smartphones, tablets, or other devices, advances in telemedicine and telehealth technologies have impacted patient care and health outcomes far away from hospitals and doctors’ offices. Connected-care services significantly reduce economic and administrative costs for patients and health care providers. This webinar explored innovations in telehealth and telemedicine applications and programs that two leading universities have developed to improve patient health in their states, especially in rural and remote areas.

                      October 17, 2018 
                      Federal Broadband Funding: Policies and Programs to Connect America
                      This BroadbandUSA webinar offered an overview of federal funding options to support increasing broadband access in communities across the United States. Learn about recent program and policy updates from officials representing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA).

                        September 19, 2018 
                        Innovative and Emerging Broadband Technologies: Providing Economical Alternatives for Rural Broadband Access
                        This webinar focused on statewide strategies to promote broadband adoption and use in rural communities. Speakers highlighted the role of state governments, libraries and university extension programs in planning and executing these strategies. The speakers also discussed the role of broadband adoption in rural economic and workforce development, as well as approaches to facilitate broadband use and improve digital skills.

                        Note: No webinar was held in August 2018

                        July 18, 2018
                        Statewide Strategies for Rural Digital Inclusion
                        This webinar focused on statewide strategies to promote broadband adoption and use in rural communities. Speakers highlighted the role of state governments, libraries and university extension programs in planning and executing these strategies. The speakers also discussed the role of broadband adoption in rural economic and workforce development, as well as approaches to facilitate broadband use and improve digital skills.

                          June 20, 2018
                          Smart Agriculture: Increasing Productivity Through Technology
                          Smart agriculture engages technologies such as Big Data, GPS, IoT and connected devices to help farmers and ranchers better manage their production. Using these technologies, farmers and ranchers can improve water efficiency, produce higher quality crops and raise healthier livestock. Reliable and robust rural connectivity are fundamental to helping farmers gain benefits from new technologies. The speakers covered advances in smart agriculture equipment and sensors, the use of big data analytics for decision-making and highlight new innovation hubs, entrepreneurial support and test beds. The webinar will also featured the work of the NTIA/NIST jointly facilitated Global Cities Team Challenge Smart Agriculture and Rural SuperCluster to develop best practices.

                            May 16, 2018
                            Infrastructure Week Special: Successful Models and Best Practices for Rural Broadband Deployment
                            Digital technologies impact all sectors of the economy including agriculture, small town main streets, and regional economic development. Yet 31% of rural Americans still lack access to fixed terrestrial broadband speeds of 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up. Increased interest in broadband is creating new opportunities leading service providers and civic leaders to find new models to expand rural broadband. We will explore three successful case studies and highlight best practices for successful rural broadband deployments.

                            April 18, 2018
                            How Smart States are Using Innovative Techniques to Enhance Technology Use

                            BroadbandUSA’s Practical Conversations have showcased how cities and communities are using technology to solve local issues. In the April webinar, find out how states are using smart technology and policy to enhance economic development and quality of life for their urban, suburban and rural communities. Representatives from three states and a moderator from the National Governors Association will provide examples of how they are changing healthcare delivery, improving disaster mitigation, controlling traffic and lighting, creating economic growth and enhancing public safety.

                              March 21, 2018
                              Broadband Public-Private Partnerships:Delivering Solutions for America’s Communities
                              Learn how to create successful broadband public-private partnerships and hear about the successes, challenges, and risks as well as specific details on implementation and management steps. 

                                February 21, 2018
                                Best Practices for Enhancing Deployment of a Public Wi-Fi Network
                                Learn about the successes, challenges, and risks as well as specific details on implementation and management steps. Our speakers highlighted their experiences with public-private partnerships in deploying broadband networks, implementing smart cities, powering the Internet of Things, and creating digital inclusion projects.

                                January 17, 2018
                                Practical Broadband Conversations: Innovative Funding Solutions for Digital Inclusion Programs
                                Effective digital inclusion programs are essential for communities, supporting efforts such as workforce development, educational attainment, financial literacy and better access to health care. Finding financial support for such programs requires creative partnerships, coordination with civic leaders and messaging that articulates the benefits of such programs to communities. Join our webinar to learn how communities have funded digital inclusion programs using a variety of funding options such as local philanthropies, city budget mechanisms and private sector support.

                                Note: No webinar was held in December 2017

                                November 15, 2017
                                Electric Co-ops Bringing Fiber to Rural America
                                Electric cooperatives are capitalizing on existing infrastructure and deep community roots to bring gigabit communications to rural communities, and the results can be transformational. Just as rural electrification energized the country in the early 20th century, high capacity broadband connections are necessary for thriving communities in the 21st century. Join BroadbandUSA’s Practical Broadband Conversations webinar to learn how member-based co-ops are making the case for investment and creating new opportunities for economic prosperity

                                October 18, 2017
                                Understanding the Role of Broadband in Regional Economic Development
                                Broadband is a key driver of regional job creation and economic prosperity. Recognizing this, many communities are taking a cooperative approach to develop a comprehensive regional economic strategy emphasizing broadband deployment and use. Join BroadbandUSA’s Practical Broadband Conversations webinar to learn how regional economic development agencies are leveraging broadband to spur collaboration, innovation and growth.

                                September 20, 2017
                                Digital Training and Workforce Development
                                Communities of all sizes are recognizing the importance of developing a digitally trained workforce. Join BroadbandUSA’s Practical Broadband Conversations webinar to hear how local leaders are helping their workforce prepare for emerging industries and businesses.

                                Note: No webinar was held in August 2017

                                July 19, 2017
                                How Broadband is Transforming Agriculture
                                Broadband is enabling a revolution in agriculture practices, leading to “Smart Farms” that maximize resources by using information technology, mobile phones, apps and the Internet. Join the BroadbandUSA conversation on how broadband can help create new generation farms and farmers.

                                June 21, 2017
                                Exploring Business Model Options for Broadband Deployment
                                There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to deploying broadband in communities, and this includes consideration of broadband business models. Join a conversation on successful broadband projects that will highlight three approaches that network owners have used to achieve their communities’ connectivity goals. The models include: a) Private owned and operated; b) Public owned and operated; c) Public owned and private operated. Representatives from network providers who have successfully employed each model will discuss the rationale for choosing a particular strategy, key benefits and trade-offs.

                                May 17, 2017
                                Next Generation Technology Deployment
                                Advanced communications infrastructure enables a range of next-generation technologies and smart community initiatives, including smart grids, intelligent transportation systems, connected street lights and remote healthcare. Hear fiber and wireless providers as well as local government representatives discuss how infrastructure allows them to create smarter communities.

                                April 19, 2017
                                Strategies for Broadband Adoption and Digital Inclusion in Rural Communities
                                This webinar will focus on strategies to promote broadband adoption and digital inclusion in rural communities, highlighting the role of libraries and university extension programs. The speakers will discuss research findings on the effect of broadband adoption in rural economic development, as well as program strategies to facilitate digital inclusion, such as mobile-hotspot lending programs, community outreach and digital skills training.

                                March 15, 2017
                                Overview of Federal Funding: Introduction to Federal Funding Opportunities for Broadband
                                The webinar will provide an overview of the federal programs that provide funding for broadband planning, infrastructure deployment, research, public computer access and digital literacy. Whether you are in the beginning stages of your planning process or starting to build your broadband network infrastructure, BroadbandUSA will help guide you to the appropriate federal programs for your needs and identify the necessary processes to apply for funding.

                                February 15, 2017
                                Leveraging National Data to Jumpstart Your Broadband Plan
                                The U.S. Census Bureau, NTIA and FCC collect and make data about availability, subscriptions and usage publicly available. Join us to do a "deep dive" into federal datasets, including the FCC Form 477 filings from broadband providers that show broadband availability, speed and technology, and NTIA's Digital Nation data, which represents the largest comprehensive national household survey on computer and Internet use. We'll also highlight how the BroadbandUSA Community Connectivity Initiative will leverage this data as part of its online assessment tool. Hear from the experts and ask your questions

                                January 18, 2017
                                Broadband Opportunity Council Accomplishments and Outlook
                                Since the Broadband Opportunity Council was formed in March 2015, federal agencies have made great strides toward meeting the goals and fulfilling commitments to increase broadband deployment, competition and adoption through executive actions within the scope of existing programs, missions and budget. Join BroadbandUSA to learn about the progress made and what the future holds for this interagency effort.

                                Note: No webinar was held in December 2016

                                November 16, 2016
                                How Does Broadband Contribute to Economic Development?
                                Now that broadband has been around for some time, have the promised economic benefits come to fruition? How can we measure these benefits and who in your community is benefitting? Join our BroadbandUSA webinar to learn the latest news from practitioners in the field.

                                October 19, 2016
                                What is Digital Inclusion?
                                Join experts from the field to hear how the definitions of “digital inclusion” and “digital equity” have evolved over time. While access to affordable robust broadband is important, people also need digital skills, access to computers and other Internet devices, and knowledge of useful applications and content in order to fully benefit from Internet access. Our presenters Emy Tseng, Broadband Program Specialist, BroadbandUSA and Dr. Roberto Gallardo Estrella, Associate Extension Professor & Leader, Intelligent Community Institute, Mississippi State University Extension will highlight some of their own digital inclusion work and discuss examples of digital inclusion programs.

                                September 21, 2016
                                Stakeholder Engagement
                                Our speakers for this webinar, Anne Byers and Kathy Johnson, have successfully managed broadband stakeholder engagement for Nebraska and Alabama respectively. They will share their insights to effectively recruit and manage stakeholder relationships.

                                August 17, 2016
                                State Broadband Planning: Achieving Success, Overcoming Challenges
                                During this webinar, presentations will be made by state broadband leaders Jeff Sural from North Carolina and Gar Clarke from New Mexico on their very best planning ideas. You will hear directly from the folks who not only spent time in the trenches--they figured out how and where to put the trench.






                              • American Broadband Initiative

                                NTIA is the Executive Branch agency principally responsible for advising the President on telecommunications and information policy issues. As part of this mission, the agency serves on the Executive Leadership Team of the American Broadband Initiative.  The Initiative expands on the work of the Broadband Interagency Working Group. 

                                The Initiative will drive change across federal agencies to better leverage public assets and resources to expand our nation’s broadband capacity. This mission is built on three core principles:

                                • Government processes should be clear, transparent, and responsive to stakeholders.
                                • Federal assets should provide the greatest possible benefit to stakeholders and the public.
                                • The federal government should be a good steward of taxpayer funds.

                                More than 25 agencies participate in the Initiative.  On February 13, 2019, the Initiative released its first Milestones Report. 

                              • State Broadband Leaders Network (SBLN)

                                The National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) BroadbandUSA program convenes and facilitates the State Broadband Leaders Network (SBLN), a community of practitioners who work on state broadband initiatives. SBLN participants share priorities and best practices and discuss emerging telecommunications policy issues. The network also provides a forum to strengthen policy and program connections among states, local jurisdictions and federal agencies. For more information on the SBLN, consult the SBLN Fact Sheet.

                              • Expanding Internet Financing: Bank Financing for Rural Broadband Initiatives

                                The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) published this newsletter to highlight the important role that national banks and federal savings associations (collectively, banks) can play in helping rural communities gain reliable, high-speed internet access through broad

                              • Technical Assistance Overview: Digital Inclusion

                                NTIA’s BroadbandUSA team provides expert assistance and support to stakeholders that are interested in broadband infrastructure and digital inclusion programs that advance economic development, education and public safety in

                              • Technical Assistance Overview: Broadband Infrastructure

                                NTIA’s BroadbandUSA team provides expert assistance and support to stakeholders that are interested in broadband infrastructure and digital inclusion programs that advance economic development, education and public safety initiati

                              • Digital Inclusion Guide: Connectivity with a Purpose

                                Digital inclusion implies that individuals have access to robust broadband connections; Internet-enabled devices that meet their needs; and the skills to explore, create and succeed in the digital world. BroadbandUSA developed this resource to help leaders consider factors that could impact or influence their digital inclusio

                              • Bank Financing for Rural Broadband Initiatives (Video)

                                This brief video by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency highlights the important role that banks play in helping rural communities develop high-speed broadband systems and reviews how banks may receive CRA receive Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) consideration for these activities. The video highlights a cooperatively-owned fiber optic network serving 10 towns and 17 townships across four counties in south central Minnesota.