HUD Adopts Broadband Rules for Public Housing

Pete CodellaBroadband

HUD logoThe Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) adopted two final rulings last month to help ensure that residents in public housing have access to broadband Internet.  The new rules require the installation of broadband infrastructure in both new construction projects and projects to substantially retrofit existing public housing structures.

The new rules regulate the use of HUD funds to ensure the expansion of broadband into residences that are often impacted by the digital divide.  In addition to requiring the installation of infrastructure into new and rehabilitated housing, the rules also address planning.

Each jurisdiction that receives Community Development Block Grant Funding creates a coordinating document called a Consolidated Plan.  The new rules require the consideration of broadband access in these plans.  Plans must describe the current state of broadband access in housing occupied by low and moderate income households.

The first rule, titled, “Narrowing the Digital Divide Through the Installation of Broadband Infrastructure in HUD-Funded New Construction and Substantial Rehabilitation of Multifamily Rental Housing,” went into effect January 19, 2017.

The second rule, titled, “Modernizing HUD’s Consolidated Planning Process to Narrow the Digital Divide and Increase Resilience to Natural Hazards,” went into effect January 17, 2017.

The Broadband Outreach Center hopes to be a good resource for jurisdictions in their planning efforts.  While an initial draft of the HUD rules recommended the National Broadband Map and raw FCC data be the primary resource for planning, many state mapping efforts have the most current broadband data.  Click here to see Utah’s Residential Broadband Map The final rule did not specify one source for jurisdictions to obtain data, so the state can be a primary consultant in planning efforts.

For more information about these rules, including a legal perspective, please see Broadband Advisory Council member Drew Clark’s assessment here: