Leverage existing community assets (including American Rescue Plan funds) in partnership with interested broadband providers to expand broadband network deployment.
The strength of these partnerships is that each party brings something important to the table that the other doesn’t have or can’t easily acquire. The community can offer infrastructure (publicly owned building rooftops, light poles, towers, and other vertical assets for mounting infrastructure) for the deployment of a network, as well as committed anchor tenants. Private-sector partners bring network-building and operations experience.
1) Determine priorities: Competition, enhanced service, equity, and service to all; public control over infrastructure; risk avoidance; redundancy, etc.
2) Consider different models of partnership:
Model 1: Private Investment, Public Facilitation — Make available public assets such as fiber and conduit, share geographic information systems data, streamline permitting and inspection processes, offer economic development incentives to attract private broadband investment.
Model 2: Private Execution, Public Funding — Identify revenue streams that can be directed to a private partner, issue RFP for private turnkey execution.
Model 3: Shared Investment and Risk — Evaluate using assets to attract private investment, evaluate funding new assets to attract private investment, evaluate building new fiber assets to businesses and/or homes for leasing to private ISPs.
3) Understand key legal considerations for localities looking to build a broadband partnership: Review authority issues, understand the legal tools and instruments that could shape the partnership, negotiate the agreement.