An Introduction to Broadband Expansion Challenges for Municipalities

January 13, 2024 | Ed Barrett, Ken Demlow, Cody Miller

In today’s interconnected world, broadband access is more than a luxury; it’s a necessity. High-speed internet is the backbone of modern connectivity, driving societal and economic progress. Enhanced broadband access transforms communities by improving education, healthcare, and remote work opportunities. It fosters innovation, attracts businesses, and supports local economies, making it a critical component of modern infrastructure.

Funding Broadband Programs

Securing funding is a crucial step in broadband expansion. Municipalities often rely on a mix of federal, state, and local funds, along with grants and public-private partnerships, to finance broadband projects. With more than $42.5 billion in grant funding flowing to state broadband programs, it is critical that communities act swiftly to plan now to get their share of funds, particularly those in rural or remote parts of the country. Communities can take an active role in securing their future by preparing to apply for funding immediately.

A Success Story: McHenry County

HR Green has helped many communities solve this challenging puzzle. One of our clients, McHenry County, decided to leverage American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for broadband. The county had a need to expand broadband service but did not want to become the service provider. Our team collaborated with McHenry County, creating a program that supported private company growth.

The funding was used as an incentive for established broadband service providers to apply for grants and expand their services to the area. In this case, it was crucial that the county acted as the organizer for the broadband expansion project rather than becoming a service provider. Two providers have submitted grants covering most of the county’s geography, and the county is likely to be able to repurpose the broadband ARPA funds due to the coordinated effort.

Municipal Challenges with ISP Expansion

As ISPs aim to expand their networks, municipalities face significant challenges. The rapid deployment of broadband infrastructure can strain municipal resources and test their resilience. Without proper preparation, municipalities may struggle with:

  • Overwhelming excavation and ROW permit demands
  • Code compliance during the permitting process
  • Efficient electronic civil plan check process
  • Municipal code compliance during construction
  • Construction inspection and site restoration compliance

These challenges highlight the need for strategic planning and partnerships to facilitate successful broadband implementation.

municipal broadband oversight

Your Trusted Partner for Broadband Expansion

HR Green’s partnership with ( enhances our ability to assist municipalities in navigating the complex landscape of broadband funding. Our dedicated team of grant planners and engineering services helps clients identify eligible grants, prepare applications, and plan projects effectively. This partnership can guide municipalities in accessing the necessary funds to bridge the digital divide and foster community growth.

Municipalities face numerous challenges in broadband expansion, but with the right strategies and partnerships, these challenges can be successfully navigated. Prepare your community for the broadband infrastructure surge. Discover how HR Green’s Broadband Funding and Municipal Broadband Oversight services can streamline your response and navigate resource and regulatory challenges. 

Discover Our Municipal Broadband Oversight Services

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