Enabling Broadband: How Utilities Are Bridging the Digital Divide

UTC Telecom & Technology Conference 2018, Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 North Avenida Caballeros, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Utilities are in a unique position to extend much-needed broadband services to rural America, with existing physical connections to rural customers and a ubiquitous network infrastructure that can be leveraged to provide reliable, fast, and affordable broadband to areas that are unserved or underserved by other commercial service providers. At the same time, the regulatory obligations facing utilities that are actively offering broadband or interested in doing so have changed dramatically just in the last two years and are continuing to evolve, presenting new challenges that utilities must be prepared to address in order to meet the needs of the customers they serve. In this presentation, we will discuss the various legal and regulatory issues involved in becoming a broadband service provider and the ways in which these issues can be effectively managed. We will also discuss how some utilities are addressing state restrictions on broadband services.