CONNECT THE FUTURE
FLORIDA

OUR AGENDA: CONNECT MORE FLORIDIANS AND DO IT QUICKLY

Access to reliable, high-speed internet service is more important than ever. And while 97% of Florida’s population has access to a broadband connection, which places Florida in the Top 5 ranking for broadband availability, there are still more than 804,000 Floridians without access to a wired broadband connection.

Even with more than 220 internet providers offering broadband service in the state, Florida’s digital divide is real, and the socio-economic consequences are even more stark for the 20% of Florida’s rural population that do not have access to a broadband connection. Our mission is plain and simple: we seek to shape public policy to create an environment that encourages investment in expanding broadband deployment throughout Florida.

COMMON SENSE SOLUTIONS

The benefits of high-speed internet are undeniable. Yet, numerous barriers exist today that slow or prevent broadband deployment, especially in rural areas. We’re calling for common-sense solutions to address obstacles that inhibit bringing broadband to all Floridians.

For example, we should tackle the unnecessary delays and extraordinary expenses associated with the process of attaching broadband infrastructure to utility poles owned by electric cooperatives and municipalities in Florida. To provide service in rural areas, broadband providers attach much of their network infrastructure to poles owned by municipal and electric cooperative utility companies. A common set of rules exist for investor-owned utilities like Florida Power & Light, but Florida has virtually no rules for municipal utilities and electric cooperatives. There are no timeframes for them to review pole attachment requests, no process to fairly allocate pole replacement costs, and no cap on the rental fees these pole owners can charge. This results in disputes and delays that inhibit the efficient and timely deployment of broadband to unserved, rural areas of Florida.

Addressing these types of roadblocks will help accelerate the expansion of high-speed broadband access to more people and will help ensure that all Floridians are empowered to find the opportunities they need to thrive in the 21st Century.

OUR COALITION SUPPORTERS

FLORIDA INTERNET ACCESS MATTERS

More than 804,000 Floridians lack access to wireline broadband, according to the FCC.

Florida ranks among the nation’s highest cost states for municipal and electric cooperative utility pole access.

These high costs are exacerbated in rural areas, where some electric cooperatives charge broadband service providers an average of 250% more for utility pole access than investor-owned utility pole owners charge for the same access, and some municipal-owned electric utilities charge broadband service providers an average of 200% more.

Florida’s electric cooperatives have the 4th highest utility pole attachment rate in the country.

This broadband infrastructure challenge is compounded by the high cost electric cooperative and municipal pole owners charge for replacing old utility poles.

The high cost of replacing electric cooperative-owned utility poles and the lack of any meaningful rules governing periods to obtain permits to allow broadband providers to attach to these poles, particularly in rural Florida, inhibits broadband expansion.

RUNAWAY POLE COSTS INHIBIT BROADBAND DEPLOYMENT

TAKE ACTION

Help Speed Rural Broadband Deployment Throughout Florida

NEWS AND UPDATES

Resources

ADVANCED COMMUNICATIONS LAW AND POLICY INSTITUTE, STATE BROADBAND PROFILES • FLORIDA

RURAL BROADBAND ACCESS IN FLORIDA

THE ECONOMIC CONTRIBUTIONS OF COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK
INVESTMENT IN FLORIDA

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING IN FLORIDA

Voices across Florida recognize the impact that fair, transparent utility pole processes can have on expanding broadband deployment across our state can have – helping families, students, businesses, farms and more get connected.

JOIN CONNECT THE FUTURE FLORIDA

Do you want to connect more Floridians to the future? Do you want to strengthen our economy, expand opportunity, and usher in a better future for our state and our country?

If so, we want you to stand with us.