What is “local coordination” and how can counties satisfy the FCC Broadband requirements?
County governments across the country are working hard to ensure that the communities they serve are being adequately represented by the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program.
Understanding the conversation surrounding BEAD
Designed as a bi-partisan effort to provide high-speed internet access to underserved and low-income areas, BEAD is an incredible opportunity for counties to access a massive share of federal funding. Unfortunately, most counties are struggling to effectively coordinate their efforts and communicate with the constituents that stand to benefit from the initiative the most.
One of the most confusing dimensions is the FCC’s broadband coverage map which will dictate the allocation of funds. Many county leaders have raised concerns that the map vastly underrepresents needs and have planned to formally challenge the map’s interpretation of coverage in their county.
In doing so however, they are faced with the difficult task of fulfilling the FCC’s standards for “local coordination”. These are not only a prerequisite to successfully challenging the map, but in the future they will also be a requirement for receiving and applying the funding.
What does “local coordination” entail?
The FCC has defined five requirements for “local coordination” that counties must meet at various stages throughout the five-year rollout:
Full Geographic Coverage
Coordination efforts must be made to ensure that all neighborhoods, districts, and political subdivisions within an area are accounted for in the local plan.
Coordination efforts must include a variety of stakeholders such as state agencies, community organizations, and local non-profits.
Awareness, Outreach, and Participation
Coordination must include multiple mechanisms to ensure broad awareness and participation in the program.
Coordination must include procedures to ensure transparency throughout the rollout including reporting on outreach and regular in-person meetings.
Engagement of Underrepresented Communities
Coordination must include communities that have historically faced barriers in participating in federal programs. Examples of engagement include advisory boards with community representatives, targeted awareness campaigns, and public surveys.
Why are these requirements so challenging to meet?
The biggest barrier that counties are facing with the BEAD requirements is communicating to their constituents effectively, equitably, and with enough visibility to satisfy the FCC’s comprehensive requirements.
Most county officials reach less than 10% of constituents with messaging campaigns, when soliciting feedback, or encouraging participation in programs. More often than not County governments lack up-to-date contact information for the majority of the people they serve and typically have no way to target outreach at certain constituent groups, like those who might be eligible for public programs.
Communication solutions are already solving for problems like these
Innovation in digital government, particularly around constituent communications, has been accelerating over the past several years. In part spurred along by the pandemic, public officials at every level of government have invested in technology that allows them to quickly respond, and proactively reach out, to constituents at a speed and scale that was not possible a few short years ago.
County governments are using Constituent Relations Management (CRM) platforms to effectively send the right messages to the right constituents at the right time. These solutions streamline communication, reach a broad diversity of constituents, and could prove to be an incredible tool for County leaders who want to challenge FCC coverage maps and meet the FCC’s local coordination requirements.
Indigov is here to help
Indigov’s CRM platform was built exclusively for elected officials and government. Our comprehensive solution makes it possible for elected officials and governments to quickly communicate with every constituent through:
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