The National Association of Counties (NACo) formed a task force to study the lack of reliable broadband, focusing on the challenges facing underserved communities, reported The Islands’ Weekly. NACo President Gary Moore released the news, communicating that the task force is comprised of nearly three dozen county government officials from across the United States.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting families and businesses, the need for reliable high-speed internet is more acute than ever,” said Task Force Co-Chair Craig Rice.
Earlier this year, NACo, in conjunction with partner organizations, released a study detailing that nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of counties in the U.S. experience internet speeds below the minimum standards set forth by the FCC. According to The Islands’ Weekly, NACo’s Understanding the True State of Connectivity in America report also found that 77 percent of rural American counties lack high-speed broadband.
Task Force Co-Chair J.D. Clark added, “Our new task force will examine the intersection of public and private sector efforts to deploy broadband networks and create a blueprint for local governments to help bridge the digital divide.”
NACo is also working to pass federal legislation to remove barriers placed on local governments. Some state-imposed limitations prohibit local governments from expanding access to broadband connectivity, reported The Islands’ Weekly.