The Handbook

Gig.U, Benton Foundation Give Community Leaders Roadmap For Getting Better, Faster, Cheaper Broadband

Groups release The Next Generation Connectivity Handbook: a guide for community leaders

Washington, DC – Gig. U and the Benton Foundation today published a comprehensive guide for communities who want better broadband for their residents and businesses. “The Next Generation Connectivity Handbook: a Guide for Community Leaders Seeking Affordable Abundant Bandwidth” builds on the experience of 25 Gig.U communities who have worked on this issue for many years and is an indispensable tool in lowering the initial, daunting information barrier for cities just beginning to navigate these critical Internet infrastructure issues.

“When we started Gig.U four years ago, there were few models for communities who wished to assure that bandwidth would not be a constraint to economic growth and social progress for their homes and enterprises,” said Blair Levin, a founder of Gig.U and one of the Handbook’s co-authors. “Thanks to the heroic efforts of leaders in a number of Gig.U and other communities, there are now numerous examples that create a map for those who wish to seek a similar advantage for their own community.”

The Handbook addresses the most common questions Gig.U received throughout its work with a wide variety of communities. It includes resources on topics such as economic impact, legal and financing issues, the trade-offs of different approaches, political challenges, and the core equation underlying the negotiating strategy with private parties.

“At the heart of the Handbook are two critical and related tasks for the city. First is understanding how a community’s practices affect the economics of deploying and operating next generation networks. Second is the task of organizing assets, practices and people to improve a community’s ability to negotiate with providers or build a network itself,” said Denise Linn, Gig.U’s former Harvard Ash Center Summer Fellow and a co-author of the Handbook.

“The wisdom Gig.U has gleaned by working with these communities, often in light of difficult odds, holds great promise for all who see affordable, abundant bandwidth as a necessity for communities to thrive in the global economy,” said Adrianne B. Furniss, Executive Director of the Benton Foundation. “Here Gig.U provides a roadmap for community leaders who realize they must act now to stimulate new investments in 21st century information infrastructure. We thank Blair and Denise for dedicating the Handbook, in part, to our late founder, Charles Benton, who fervently believed that wise telecommunications policy can improve the quality of life for all.”