Public-Private Partnerships Will Be Key to “Internet for All” Success 


“What does a truly connected America look like and how do we get there?” – Connected America 2024 

With continued commitments from industry and historic levels of federal broadband funding, a truly connected America is finally within reach. How we get there – and how successful we are at achieving this goal – will depend on the decisions our policymakers make with these investments.  

Federal and state policymakers must make wise, forward-thinking choices with broadband investments.  

We have already made tremendous progress to bridge the country’s digital divide. The cable industry alone has invested more than $310 billion in infrastructure and networks over the last 20 years. Forty million new U.S. homes subscribed to broadband between 2016 and 2021. 89% of American homes and businesses now have access to gigabit-speed service and 95% of U.S. customers have multiple choices for wired or wireless broadband. 

More work, however, must be done to connect the 8 million Americans still without internet access. These are people who live predominantly in our country’s hardest-to-reach, rural areas, where nearly 1 in 5 rural Americans remain unconnected.  

The $42 billion in Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program funds provides us the once-in-a-generation opportunity to close this rural broadband gap. Just as important are the decisions that both federal and state policymakers make with these investments. The success, or failure, of the program will depend on it.  

Every day, internet service providers (ISPs) face countless challenges when building out networks to unserved, rural communities, ranging from tough terrains to bureaucratic contracting rules. ISPs do not need additional, unnecessary barriers – whether physical or regulatory – that make it even more difficult to build out broadband networks.  

Federal agencies need to refrain from enacting policies that will slam the breaks on progress before BEAD fully ramps up. Heavy handed regulation will create uncertainty, depress provider participation, and jeopardise the intent of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  

On the state level, policymakers must ensure that they are prepared to maximise – not mismanage – the massive sums of BEAD funding coming their way to extend connectivity. They can do so by:  

Encouraging participation and robust competition among experienced providers. 

Removing obstacles that slow deployment like unreasonable terms for access to utility poles. 
Prioritising directing grants first to communities still awaiting any service, before being funneled to areas that already have internet access or are already scheduled to receive access. 

Public-Private Partnerships: Proven Success in Extending Networks On-Time & On-Budget  

Additionally, leaders should leverage the expertise and resources of the private sector. With hundreds of projects already underway and many more to begin in the coming years, the cable industry has a longstanding track record of building out the networks on-time and on-budget. These are the 10G future-ready networks that are transforming communities and powering innovation. Our massive team of skilled professionals are equipped with the technical, managerial, and financial expertise needed to not only build these networks, but to maintain and upgrade them through decades to come.  


The cable industry stands ready to build out our networks to reach as many Americans as possible and help the Administration bring “Internet for All.” Together, we can – and will – get the job done.   

Learn more about NCTA – the Internet & Television Association’s efforts to connect every American here 

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