The Benton Foundation has released a new guide on public private partnerships. Spoiler alert: I hate to give away the ending but the appendix includes two checklists that communities at any stage of broadband planning should bring to the table: Key strategy considerations for Building a Partnership and Key legal considerations for localities looking to Build a Broadband Partnership. In fact you might use those as a study guide to help focus your reading of the rest of the guide and/or through the planning process.
The work is a …
primer is organized in two sections. In the first part, we provide a strategic overview of broadband public–private partnerships, examples of three models, and a framework for public sector entities to consider
as they evaluate potential models, assess potential partners, and set goals for a partnership. In the second section, we address the key legal issues that arise in each of the three major stages of the development of a
public–private partnership deal: confirmation of authority, pre-negotiation project planning, and negotiation of the agreement.
It is practical and straight forward. One of the things I’ve heard people say for years is that the key to public private partnership – especially for communities – is to better understand that the cards that you hold that are most valuable. I think this guide does a good job of doing that by looking risk, benefit and control involved with three options for public-private partnership…
There’s a section (2.2.1) on Strategies for Encouraging Private Investment that I think would be valuable for policymakers to read. Google has been very clear on this in the past – and this list reiterates – the key is not necessarily funding – it’s easy access to information and infrastructure. The guide includes illustrative case studies.
The second half of the report looks at the legal issues. It’s wonky by nature but again I think the content is as straightforward as possible. And as the guide points out knowing the legal standing at the onset can save time, money and heartache. I really do think using the checklist as a guide would be of great benefit to a community broadband effort.
For policymakers some of this information may be a little more in their wheelhouse – but framed in a way that is broadband-specific may help demystify broadband. Perhaps useful for the focused legislator to look at the list with an eye toward – what legislative environment would be most beneficial to our communities and how can we support that?