Building Broadband Better with CHR

By: Scott St. John, Pipeline

When Congress passed the Rural Electrification Act in May 1936 as part of Roosevelt’s sweeping New Deal, it took the first step toward revolutionizing daily life for millions of Americans in remote, rural areas. Public funding for infrastructure development on this scale was absolutely necessary, and arguably the only mechanism by which electrification would happen as quickly and successfully as it did. The act’s legacy transcends electrification and even has implications today. It established the precedent for funding infrastructure that increases productivity, improves our lives, and enables participation in the digital economy—including high-speed broadband infrastructure.

The pandemic era has fundamentally shifted how we think of broadband—no longer as a luxury, but as a necessity for modern life and an essential enabler for participation in the increasingly digital economy. This shift has accelerated momentum for federal funding to support broadband infrastructure, access, and usage across the United States. Hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding alongside significant private equity investments are pouring into the sector. But with tremendous opportunity comes tremendous pressure and complexity. Even if service providers are successful in obtaining funding, they then face operational and market challenges, from network planning and design to monitoring, cybersecurity testing and training to reduce threat risk. Unlocking the opportunity and realizing the return on investment requires the right partner with broadband expertise and an innovative approach.

Pipeline recently had the opportunity to explore the rural-broadband expansion opportunity with CHR Solutions (CHR). CHR provides B/OSS software business solutions, broadband engineering services, and managed IT and NOC services to address the operational and marketplace challenges that service providers face. CHR has the unique combination of extensive experience, an innovative approach, sophisticated software, and robust services that are helping service providers capitalize on the momentum behind rural-broadband expansion. Our discussion spanned today’s infrastructure opportunity, how technology is transforming the engineering process, and the necessity of a robust approach to network security.

A tale of two markets: serving the underserved and overbuilding

There are two types of broadband funding opportunities developing in the market. The first comes largely from federal government investment to better serve unserved and underserved residential areas. Put simply, like the Rural Electrification Act, this funding is intended to close the broadband gap and provide transformational connectivity in the 21st-century digital economy. This funding is available through sources like the Federal Communication Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), the USDA’s ReConnect Loan and Grant Program, the US Department of Commerce’s Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, the Infrastructure Investment and


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