Bridging the digital divide faces a workforce challenge

Despite demand and funding for rural broadband deployment, the industry faces a lack of skilled labor that threatens to slow rollouts and adversely impact fiber network performance and reliability. While states can use BEAD funds for training and workforce development, more than half of available funds will go to cover make-ready costs—surveys, planning, permits, approvals, utility pole upgrades and expansion, and other processes necessary to prepare for deployment. With the bulk of the remaining monies for deployment and promoting user adoption, very little (if any) will be allocated for upfront training, creating a cyclical problem of needing trained, skilled workers to later fix improperly installed networks. But there is more to the challenge that demands attention.

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Categories: Fiber, Fiber Handling

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