Start a Community Network

Many people have come to us for advice on how to get started on an effort to improve Internet connectivity in their community. We've created resources to help and have curated materials from other organizations to guide you along a path to better Internet access.

We have also developed two programs to assist digital equity advocates, elected officials and planners in understanding the digital landscape; demystifying the different technologies involved; and helping decision-makers identify how to tap the unprecedented funding sources that exist to deploy new networks. One is our Let's Get Going Broadband program and the other is our Urban Digital Equity Bootcamp program. You can learn more about each of those here.

Please let us know if you have suggestions or additional comments by emailing us -

An increasing number of municipalities and cooperatives are investing in telecommunications infrastructure to serve public facilities, local businesses, and residences (see our map here). They're filling the gaps created by large national cable and telephone companies, which have focused their investments in primarily areas with assured returns. As a result, rural areas and urban regions with higher concentrations of low-income households don't have the Internet access they need. Often the infrastructure just isn't there; sometimes it's unaffordable.

In order to correct these market failures and bring fast, affordable, reliable connectivity to all of their citizens, communities are implementing change at the local level. Each municipality, county, and region is unique, and so need to review potential policies to determine which suit their community and vision.


In the summer of 2019, Next Century Cities (NCC) released the Becoming Broadband Ready Toolkit, the most comprehensive resources we've seen to help local communities. This comprehensive resource covers considerations from early in the process to determining success throughout implementation. In addition to offering guidance with examples from across the country, the toolkit offers links to other resources, such as model ordinances, reports, podcasts, and organizations laser-focused on specific and relevant issues.

The toolkit organizes material into overreaching themes, such as building community support, establishing policies to encourage investment, and the pros and cons if publicly owned models, among many other considerations. Within each broad topic, however, NCC has dug deep into specifics, such as addressing simplified permitting practices, creating digital inclusion plans, and ways to work around legislative or regulatory barriers. Throughout the toolkit, NCC turned to the many members of the organization for real-world examples of workable solutions.

Download the toolkit from the NCC website here

When Your Community Decides to Move Forward

Over the years, we've also developed resources that can help educate and spread the word about the benefits of community networks as your project moves forward. Whether your project begins at the grassroots with regular folks in the community or in City Hall, these resources are easily accessible and help explain why community networks are a potential alternative.