New Report: Projects and Policies Related to Deploying Broadband in Unserved and Underserved Areas

The U.S. Government Accountability Office yesterday released a new telecommunications report, “Projects and Policies Related to Deploying Broadband in Unserved and Underserved Areas.”

About the report:

“The unserved and underserved areas that GAO reviewed used alternative approaches and considered various factors to deploy broadband. Broadband project sponsors in those areas included municipalities, non-traditional private providers, consortiums of sponsors in a region, and cooperatives. In making broadband deployment decisions, project sponsors said they considered diverse factors related to their ability to fund successful projects, such as the (1) likelihood of near-term service upgrades by incumbent providers, (2) potential demand for new services, (3) potential broadband technologies, and (4) existing infrastructure and potential local assistance available to providers. For financing approaches, some project sponsors used local private and public funds while others leveraged federal funds. In addition, project sponsors used a variety of ownership structures that ranged from public ownership to local private investors.”

Why GAO did this study: 

“Broadband service provides users with many opportunities to improve communications and broadband deployment is particularly critical in rural areas to provide advanced communications to remote users and communities. In 2010, FCC estimated that 7 million U.S. housing units—about 5 percent of the nation’s housing units—did not have access to wireline broadband service, mostly in rural areas. Some municipalities, cooperatives, and non-traditional private providers are exploring ways to sponsor and fund broadband projects in unserved and underserved areas.”

To download the full report, visit

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