Various government agencies today announced a cross-government strategy to promote broadband deployment — the American Broadband Initiative (ABI). ABI includes streamlining the federal permitting process, leveraging Federal assets to lower the cost of build-outs and maximizing the impact of Federal funding.

The ABI is designed to coincide with the U.S. Commerce Department’s work to update the national broadband map to make it easier to identify which parts of the country lack connectivity.

American Broadband Initiative
“Broadband is an essential part of America’s communications infrastructure, and an important component of our economic policy,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, in a prepared statement. “The American Broadband Initiative will help government and industry target resources in the most efficient manner so all Americans can fully participate in advanced communications technologies.”

“A huge team effort across more than 20 agencies has gone into creating this report, and we look forward to delivering on this commitment to improve broadband deployment,” added David Redl, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, in a prepared statement.

Among the ways the government expects to boost broadband access:

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture will launch a $600 million broadband pilot program designed to make investments in projects that deploy infrastructure in rural areas.
  • The U.S. Department of Interior has created a map with more than 7,000 tower locations on federal properties, which is expected to aid service providers find needed equipment to expand wireless and wireline broadband networks.
  • The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration will create a one-stop shop for broadband permitting information on its BroadbandUSA website.
  • The General Services Administration (GSA) is seeking commentary from the public on priority markets and assets needed to expand mobile access in underserved markets and plans to with Federal agencies to streamline commercial access to these markets.

Image courtesy of flickr user Sean MacEntee.

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