State governments that have elected to make investments to increase the availability of affordable broadband service in rural areas and low income urban neighborhoods should organize their efforts around a strategy that encourages and leverages locally- driven initiatives, rather than follow a top-down approach that seeks to identify and close all broadband service gaps in a comprehensive fashion. A bottom- up approach to state broadband policy has three major advantages. First, it is a conservative policy response in an economic arena in which the appropriate role of the public sector is highly contested and in which private sector deployment is proceeding rapidly, even as gaps in service in rural and poorer communities remain. Second, it acknowledges the extraordinary practical difficulty of identifying and addressing all broadband infrastructure and service gaps at any point in time, given data limitations and the rapid pace at which technologies, services and the telecommunications industry itself are evolving. Third, it facilitates the design of solutions that are unique to the local conditions in places where gaps exist and where local commitment to policy action is clearly demonstrated.


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