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Fiber for Breakfast 2023 Week 41 – Fiber to Every Rural Home: BEAD is More Than Enough

The level of BEAD funding is far more than adequate to complete the work started under the CAF II Auction, and continued under CARES, RDOF and ARPA: Fiber to every rural home.

In 2010, the consultants working on the National Broadband Plan estimated that the cost to build fiber to every rural home would exceed $300 billion. That estimate, as much as any other factor, drove the federal government’s view that rural fiber was prohibitively expensive. The FCC effectively decided not to close the digital divide, and instead pursue “good enough” solutions, including DSL, fixed wireless and satellite. Over the decade to follow, the FCC committed nearly $100 billion to non-fiber solutions while the divide grew.

As a nation, will we make that mistake again? Will exaggerated costs to build fiber networks divert public resources to sub-optimal technologies? Or will we commit to close the digital divide with fiber-optic networks to every rural community? Join us for Fiber for Breakfast with Jonathan Chambers, Partner at Conexon.

Webinar Guest:

For over 30 years, Jonathan Chambers has influenced the development of government telecommunications policies and the deployment of internet access networks. Early in his career, Chambers served as the Republican staff director of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. During that time, the Committee overhauled most of the federal laws that today still govern the wireless, cable, telephone, and internet access industries. He later served as FCC Chief of the Office of Strategic Planning, where he was a principal advocate for reforms that altered $12 billion in annual FCC spending from support of voice services to support of broadband services and from incumbent subsidies to competitive bidding. Since early 2016, Chambers has worked with rural electric cooperatives deploying fiber broadband. He is widely viewed as one of the industry’s foremost experts on rural broadband funding.