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Developing Broadband Policy at the local level. Stephen Blum – Tellus Venture Associates Nate Greenberg – Mono County, CA Connie Stewart – California Center for Rural Policy. CASF Annual Consortia Meeting March 13, 2013. Session Overview. Why policy is important

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developing broadband policy at the local level

Developing Broadband Policyat the local level

Stephen Blum – Tellus Venture Associates

Nate Greenberg – Mono County, CA

Connie Stewart – California Center for Rural Policy

CASF Annual Consortia Meeting

March 13, 2013


Session Overview

  • Why policy is important
    • Take control of your destiny
    • The importance of proper policy
  • Getting policy implemented
    • Engaging the proper people
    • Utilizing the proper policy vehicle
  • Policy considerations & examples
    • Technology & deployment
    • Development Standards
    • Open Access considerations
    • Standards, revenue generation, incentives

Take Control of Your Own Destiny or Get Left Behind!

  • Here’s Your Charge:
    • To devise telecommunications goals and policies that addresses community needs,  accommodates changes in the telecommunications industry and consider changes in state and federal law.
  • Why?
    • Silence/lack of involvement takes jurisdictions out of the driver’s seat
    • A lack or poorly crafted policies discourage or dissuade providers from operating in your area
    • Thoughtful policy development allows jurisdictions to impact implementation of service, infrastructure, and business practices in your communities

The Importance of Proper Policy

Broadband planning enables infrastructure and services

Cities of San Leandro & Benicia developing commercial broadband, leasing conduit for new fiber, pursuing grants for industrial zones

City of Palo Alto operates commercial dark fiber network

Cities of Los Angeles, Oakland, Folsom, Lompoc developed wireless policy, initiatives

Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito counties & cities developing broadband policy bank, asset inventory, economic development tools

Chattanooga building fiber to the home, offers Gigabit service


Role of Policy

  • Economic development policy objectives
    • Prioritize broadband as a driver of economic development
    • Increase access and competition (private)
    • Maximize the value of CIP investments (public)
    • Lower administrative and fiscal barriers to entry for new market players
    • Provide additional services to tourism based economies
  • Health Care
    • Providing telemedicine to rural communities
    • Lab & X-Ray services
  • Education
    • Distance learning opportunities

Role of Policy

  • Government Services
    • Improving eGovernment solutions
    • Improved access to free Internet in public spaces
  • Environmental protection
    • Visual and scenic quality protection
    • Habitat and other considerations
  • Social aspects & consumer protection
    • Bridge the Digital Divide in your region – don’t leave people behind

Implications of Policy

Source: Sacramento Regional Research Institute

  • Almost 50K job-years created by improved broadband access
  • Broadband is a basic requirement for business location decisions

Implications of Policy


is the new


A tale of two cities San Leandro & King City

Opportunities don’t wait for policy to be developed


Who is responsible for improving telecommunications in your community?

  • Telecommunication providers responsibility?
    • Some jurisdictions preach!
    • Good Luck with that!
  • Jurisdictions responsibility
    • “The County shall…” vs. “The County should…”
  • Language Matters
    • “Telecommunication companies must work collaboratively to increase….”
    • “The County shall work with telecommunication providers to…”

Engaging your local jurisdiction in policy development

  • Establish a relationship with your jurisdiction’s elected officials and get their buy-in
    • Help them understand the importance of the work
    • Engage them in projects – make them stakeholders
    • Encourage them to establish a point person within the agency
  • Turn local leaders into project champions
    • Find people in the community who can stand behind the effort
  • Build support for your cause
    • Find important users and use cases that support your efforts
      • Emergency Services
      • Social Services

Common Vehicles for Local Government Policy

  • General Plan Policy Change
    • Highest level of land use commitment
    • Normally incorporated into Circulation Elements or other Mandatory Elements
    • Contains Goals & Policies
    • Normally only updated every 10-20 years
  • Ordinances
    • High level of commitment
    • Contains Standards & Implementation Measures
    • Easier to change and adapt
    • Can happen in 60-120 days

Common Vehicles for Local Government Policy

  • Economic Development Plans
    • Important, but lower level of commitment
    • Contains goals often not connected to funding
    • Normally only updated every 5 years
  • Other Non-Mandated Reports or Plans
    • Important, but lower level of commitment
    • Easier to change and adapt
  • Resolutions, Proclamations and Letter of Support
    • Important, but lower level of commitment
    • Easy to get

General Policy Topics

  • Technology and deployment
    • Technology & deployment considerations
  • Development standards
    • Subdivision standards
    • Utility specifications, etc.
  • Open access
    • Conduit & other infrastructure
    • Public networks
  • Standards, revenue generation, incentives
    • Service standards
    • Revenue generation vs. incentives

Technology & Deployment Considerations

  • Technology decisions/preferences
    • Wireless : Wireline
    • Appropriateness : Best Available
    • Learn from the Smart Meter experience
  • Wireline considerations
    • Underground vs. overhead requirements
    • Co-location, conduit policies, etc.
  • Wireless considerations
    • Tower & siting considerations
    • Health concerns by members of public

Development Standards

Broadband is poles and holes


Development Standards

  • Broadband requirements for new development, renovations
  • Prioritizing broadband as a planning criterion
  • Commercial/industrial vs. residential
  • Anticipating and accommodating future needs
  • Broadband conduit in CIP, public works, transportation projects
  • Open trench policies, shadow conduit
  • Right of way and encroachment policies
  • Conduit, pole, site leasing
  • GIS integration
  • Telecommuting
  • Public services and digital inclusion
  • Digital literacy and workforce development
  • Systems interoperability, open data programs
  • Wireless site, towers and antenna policies
  • Environmental and aesthetic issues

Goal is to make broadband a routine policy consideration and planning element


Open Access Considerations

  • Conduit & other infrastructure
    • Open access to newly installed infrastructure
    • Jurisdiction or Special District ownership of infrastructure
    • Increased competition through existing open networks
  • Public networks
    • Free public WiFi in public/community spaces
    • Community, Co-Op, or Special District owned networks

Standards, Revenue Generation, & Incentives

  • Service Standards
    • Uptime, business practices, response levels, etc.
    • CASF ‘Served’ level speeds
    • Community/permit tiering& coverage area concepts
  • Revenue generation opportunities
    • Street encroachments
    • Space leases on jurisdiction property (cabinets, antennas, etc.)
    • Business tax measure to generate telco obligated money
  • Incentive opportunities
    • Waive or modify rents, leases, or tax payments for certain conditions
    • Facilitated or expedited permitting processes