Task Force on Broadband Expansion

Broadband networks and services drive the national and state economies. Ubiquitous deployment can only raise standards of living and bring major advances in education, healthcare, teleworking, e-commerce, public safety and security. State and federal policymakers have to find ways to assure that networks are promptly and efficiently deployed. There are many tools that can be brought to bear, including State and Federal Tax incentives, Grants, Universal Service subsidy programs, other targeted spending programs, and providing access to lower cost capitol. But it is impossible to accurately target any of these mechanisms without an accurate map indicating unserved and underserved areas that need assistance. Another possibility is to leverage the infrastructure of other utilities. At the national level, the FCC is currently considering how to make the national broadband maps more accurate and granular. In the current environment, there is still much that can be done. This task force will work to identify: 1. How some States have successfully shifted state universal service funds from telephone and op ex support to broadband buildout capital support and any lessons learned that other states could utilize; 2. What other state programs are successfully building out broadband, how are they funded, and how are they structured; 3. How NARUC and NARUC members can best work with the FCC to help craft Universal Service Fund programs that will be most successful at expanding broadband into unserved areas; 4. Electric and gas utilities who have successfully leveraged their infrastructure to provide broadband service, including lessons learned from considering any regulatory hurdles, project funding mechanisms, the relative financial success for the utility, how (or should) State commissions incentivize such projects, and whether the overall approach can be replicated elsewhere. 5. Information related to the impacts of rural broadband deployment on economic development, education, healthcare, quality of life, the delivery of public utilities services and its ultimate benefits to customers.

Chris Nelson photo

Chris Nelson
South Dakota Public Utilities Commission     

Crystal Rhoades photo

Crystal Rhoades
(Vice Chair)
Nebraska Public Service Commission     

Karen Charles Peterson photo

Karen Charles Peterson
Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable     

Maida J. Coleman photo

Maida J. Coleman
Missouri Public Service Commission     

Alexandra Fernandez-Navarro Esq. photo

Alexandra Fernandez-Navarro Esq.
Associate Member
Puerto Rico Public Service Regulatory Board     

Todd Hiett photo

Todd Hiett
Oklahoma Corporation Commission     

Charlotte R. Lane photo

Charlotte R. Lane
Public Service Commission of West Virginia     

Talina R. Mathews photo

Talina R. Mathews
Kentucky Public Service Commission     

Lea Marquez Peterson photo

Lea Marquez Peterson
Arizona Corporation Commission     

Tremaine L. Phillips photo

Tremaine L. Phillips
Michigan Public Service Commission     

Sherry Lichtenberg Ph.D. photo

Sherry Lichtenberg Ph.D.
Deputy Director
National Regulatory Research Institute     

James Bradford Ramsay photo

James Bradford Ramsay
General Counsel
National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners