WASHINGTON (Feb. 12, 2020) – The latest edition of the R Street Institute’s Broadband Scorecard, released on Wednesday, includes all state legislation passed through 2019. While the U.S. Congress and the Federal Communications Commission both made progress last year, the real champions were state policymakers who took initiative and passed great broadband laws of their own. With upcoming elections likely to consume much of 2020 and stymie legislative progress at the federal level, state policymakers should strive to make sure they have the best laws in place to promote broadband deployment and competition within their states.

In the 2019 Broadband Scorecard Report, R Street Technology and Innovation Manager Tom Struble and Technology and Innovation Fellow Jeffrey Westling discuss how broadband connectivity has become integral to modern life and how next-generation networks promise significant benefits to consumers and the economy as a whole.

They find that local governments in charge of access to public rights of way, construction permitting and franchising law often erect barriers to the deployment of necessary infrastructure by charging significant fees and letting applications sit fallow.

They argue that state governments have the opportunity to reduce these barriers by putting limitations on the review process while maintaining local government control of rights of way. Many state governments have passed good broadband laws, so states who haven’t addressed these issues should look to the scorecard’s leaders—Arizona, Wisconsin, Arkansas and Florida—for models.

They conclude that “policymakers should therefore do everything within their power to lower barriers to infrastructure deployment, thereby ensuring that the broadband service of the future will be faster, more widely available and more competitive than ever before.”