Let’s get to (net)work
Last month, the White House, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Commerce backed the launch of the American Broadband Initiative to maximize opportunities for private investment, allowing a host of changes including speeding up the permitting process and increase federal funding.
Broadband has been a complex sector for private investment in the US. Over the past few years we have seen some high profile successes, alongside some notable failures that somewhat blot the landscape.
This new initiative, mainly designed to free up access to funding and support a real pipeline, has come at a time where many agencies are starting to realize the potential of P3s here.
For a country as advanced as the US, there remain parts that simply cannot compete with other developed nations when it comes to the provision of broadband, so new efforts are overdue to say the least.
Traditionally, the issue has related to the number of quality deals offset against the soaring levels of potential capital investment waiting in the wings. The industry is ready and waiting, but the enthusiasm has yet to be matched by government.
It is early days for this new initiative, but it at least represents an acknowledgement that there is potential lying in wait from the private sector.
Ultimately, freeing up access to funding will surely only open more doors for all stakeholders.
Changing in the dynamics of the market through simplification and a more streamlined approach will be vital to growth in this sector, so while I would anticipate some characteristic twists in the tale, broadband may now finally be able to open its doors for business.
A more in-depth piece on broadband opportunities will feature in the next edition of P3 Bulletin