High-speed broadband has become the connective tissue between the individual and all facets of society: educational, professional, social, and civic. The COVID-19 pandemic has only cemented this reality as schools, businesses, and governments have shifted online. Yet millions of Americans lack affordable access to baseline broadband. Bridging this connectivity gap is essential to an inclusive and equitable recovery from the pandemic, but political and technical barriers mean that new and innovative policy solutions are necessary to do so. We conducted a global scan of innovations to better understand how other countries have expanded broadband access. We ultimately identified a Welsh program, Superfast Cymru, that could inform US policymakers seeking to close access gaps. Our research and analysis identified the program’s main features and four policy innovations for US policymakers to consider.
This brief is part of a larger project exploring how innovative policies and programs from abroad can inform state and local efforts in the US to advance an inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Resources from the full project are available at https://urbn.is/lessons.