May 28, 2009 By Wayne Hanson
Over the past few years, the United States has begun to lag in the race to deploy broadband, especially in rural areas. However, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides $7.2 billion for broadband grants, loans and loan guarantees administered by the Agriculture and Commerce departments, and charges the FCC with completing a national broadband plan by next February.
To initiate that effort, The FCC just released a report -- Bringing Broadband to Rural America: Report on a Rural Broadband Strategy. In a release, the FCC called the 83-page report a "starting point for the development of policies to deliver broadband to rural areas and restore economic growth and opportunity for Americans residing and working in those areas."
"Infrastructure deployment is something Americans do well," says the report, "it plays to our national strengths. We have built out canals, bridges, electricity, telephone service, roads and highways. Now, with much history to learn from and with an array of technological resources at our disposal, we can and will do it again."
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.