WASHINGTON (Feb. 10, 2021)—The latest edition of the R Street Institute’s Broadband Scorecard includes all state legislation passed through 2020, scores every state on their laws governing the regulatory process for broadband deployment and explains how each state could improve moving forward. A recent industry report indicated that 5G deployments will generate $1.4-$1.7 trillion to U.S. GDP and create 3.8 million to 4.6 million jobs in the next decade. However, for this future to be realized, local governments must not erect artificial barriers to deployment.

In the 2020 Broadband Scorecard, R Street Technology and Innovation Fellow Jeffrey Westling discusses 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.

Westling uses the scorecard to demonstrates how broadband deployment is more critical than ever, but local barriers to deployment can stymie the process. Access to public rights of way, franchise review and construction permitting should be limited to the costs that the local government bears in managing them, and shot clocks on the review period can help ensure applications do not sit fallow.

He finds that other policies such as dig-once, restricting in-kind contributions on filing and limiting aesthetic review can help reduce the regulatory barrier to deployment as well.

“From right-of-way access and zoning to construction permits and franchising, state and local barriers to infrastructure deployment can have a major impact on Americans’ access to broadband,” says Westling.

View the full scorecard and analysis here.

Here are the ratings for all 50 states for 2020:

Alabama: B-
Alaska: D+
Arizona: A
Arkansas: A
California: B
Colorado: C+
Connecticut: C
Delaware: A-
Florida: A
Georgia: B
Hawaii: B+
Idaho: C
Illinois: A
Indiana: B+
Iowa: B+
Kansas: A-
Kentucky: C-
Louisiana: C
Maine: C
Maryland: C-
Massachusetts: D+
Michigan: B
Minnesota: B
Mississippi: C-
Missouri: A-
Montana: D
Nebraska: B+
Nevada: C+
New Hampshire: C
New Jersey: C
New Mexico: B
New York: C-
North Carolina: B+
North Dakota: D+
Ohio: A
Oklahoma: B
Oregon: D+
Pennsylvania: C
Rhode Island: B
South Carolina: C
South Dakota: D+
Tennessee: B+
Texas: B+
Utah: A-
Vermont: C
Virginia: A-
Washington: C-
West Virginia: B
Wisconsin: A
Wyoming: C

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