What is broadband?
Broadband is high-speed Internet. The Federal Communications Commision (FCC) defines broadband as 25 megabits per second (mbps). Broadband enables the digital economy where companies and individuals can buy and sell products and services online 24 hours a day globally (Broadband).
Why should states care to increase their broadband coverage?
- It facilitates small business growth
- It provides needed online resources to local schools
- It is vital to ensure the best public safety and health services
- It reduces production costs and increases productivity in industry
- To attract larger companies' business states require suitable broadband coverage
- Rural communities that have limited healthcare options require broadband coverage to participate in telehealth services
- It creates a more connected state
How are other states staying competitive in broadband coverage?
- Governor Cuomo of New York launched the “New Broadband Program” in 2015 which will allocate $500 million in state grant funding by the end of 2017 (Broadband Program Office).
- This money has been given out in phases with the third and final phase accepting application from communities this year. In total the projected cost of phase 1 and 2 is $343,876,222 (New York's Broadband: Stats & Figures).
- In total around 125,685 housing units have been served thus far in the “New Broadband Program” (Broadband Program Office).
- Under New York’s program, providers must offer at least 100 mbps speed for $60 a month (Corasaniti).
- The “New Broadband Program” has utilized Public Private Partnerships (PPP) to accomplish their broadband connectivity goals. In New York for a broadband company to be accepted as a partner they must commit to at least a 1:1 investment match (Salway).
- The goal is to have statewide broadband service by the end of 2018 (Broadband Program Office).
- The state of Massachusetts through the Last Mile Program (LMP) has invested $40 million to expand broadband coverage in their state (Last Mile program Policy).
- The LMP prioritizes affordable and sustainable solutions to the broadband service challenges facing the Commonwealth’s 44 unserved communities (Last Mile Program Policy).
- To receive financial support and state approval, broadband access projects must meet these minimum baseline requirements:
(Last Mile Program for Unserved Towns)
- Once a town has been approved to receive state funds to expand their broadband coverage the state and community decide the expansion model that works best for the community. In almost all models the state takes advantage of a public private partnership. These models can be seen below:
(Last Mile Program for Unserved Towns)
Where is Georgia in broadband coverage?
- Georgia currently ranks 23rd in broadband connectivity (Georgia's Broadband: Stats & Figures).
- Since 2010, The Digital Georgia Program has been awarded $5,229,940 in federal grants for Georgia's Broadband Initiative (Georgia's Broadband: Stats & Figures).
- Another $69,687,765, accounting for 2.0% of all federal infrastructure grants, was awarded to broadband infrastructure projects in Georgia (Georgia's Broadband: Stats & Figures).
- There are 1.2 million people in Georgia without access to a wired connection capable of 25mbps download speeds (Georgia's Broadband: Stats and Figures).
Broadband Coverage in Georgia
Click here for more broadband coverage maps and data
- In 2016 the Joint High-Speed Broadband Communications Access for All Georgians Study Committee was formed to research the rural/urban broadband divide and provide recommendations. The joint committee was dissolved at the end of December 2016.
- 159 school districts in Georgia were awarded $77 million in competitive grants in fiscal year 2014-16 to expand broadband coverage. There was a further $129 million in federal e-rate funds awarded for school network infastructure. These funds ensured all school distircts in Georgia have 100 mbps of broadband connectivity by July 2015.
Results of Georgia Rural Broadband Survey
- The Georgia Rural Broadband Survey was built to collect information from rural Georgia residents about their internet services. The University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute of Government has used the collected data to assess the state of broadband in rural Georgia.
Click here for survey findings
Corasaniti, Nick. "In New York, Bringing Broadband to Everyone by 2018." The New York Times. The New York Times, 20 Mar. 2017. Web. 25 May 2017.
"Broadband." Georgia Technology Authority. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2017.
"Broadband Program Office." About the New NY Broadband Program. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 May 2017.
"Georgia's Broadband: Stats & Figures." Broadband Now. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2017.
"Last Mile Program Policy." Last Mile Program Policy | MBI: Expanding Broadband Across MA. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2017.
McRae, E. "Georgia Rural Broadband". University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute of Government. [PowerPoint presentation] Retrieved from: http://www.house.ga.gov/Committees/en-US/HouseRuralDevelopmentCouncil.aspx
"New York's Broadband: Stats & Figures." Broadband Now. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 May 2017.
Salway, David. “New NY Broadband Program”. 2015. PowerPoint presentation