By Gary Resnick, Esq.
President, Broward League of Cities
As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently released its National Broadband Plan. The plan is the successful result of discussions with the National League of Cities (NLC) and other organizations representing local governments that have advocated for a national broadband strategy for years.
This is a victory for the millions of residents throughout Broward County who will directly benefit. The FCC’s proposal creates the framework to provide local and municipal governments broadband access to meet the increasing needs of their residents, businesses and institutions and would provide the United States the opportunity to compete in the global economy.
As President of the Broward League of Cities and a communications attorney with GrayRobinson, I was honored to be involved with both the FCC and the NLC on these issues. I am excited for what the plan provides, including affordable bandwidth to help attract new businesses; increased access to information for schools; improved emergency and public safety communications; increased civic engagement and the opportunity for broadband for all residents.
As Congress reviews the plan for legislation, here are the four major benefits to our residents:
• Many states, including Florida, currently restrict municipal broadband networks. The plan recommends that Congress allow for municipal broadband networks to allow local governments to meet the needs of their residents.
• Creation of a “Unified Community Anchor Network” to provide network access to ‘anchor’ institutions including schools, libraries, government buildings and public health facilities.
• At least 100 million homes should have affordable broadband access to 100 Mbps download and 50 Mbps upload within 10 years of implementation.
• Local and municipal governments will work with private broadband carriers to create guidelines, including appropriate revenue for maintenance of rights of ways.
As our population increases, so too should the benefits we offer our residents. Providing the ability to connect and to communicate faster, easier and more affordably will inevitably open many more doors to new economic, civic and educational development. Broadband will usher in a new era for cities across the country as more municipalities gain access. For more information on the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, please visit http://www.broadband.gov/download-plan/.
Gary Resnick is President of the Broward League of Cities and Mayor of Wilton Manors. Mayor Resnick is also the chair of the communications practice for GrayRobinson and serves on the FCC’s Intergovernmental Advisory Committee and the National League of Cities Information Technology and Communications Policy Steering Committee.