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The Divide: FBA's Gary Bolton on taking fiber advocacy to the states

For the Fiber Broadband Association (FBA), much of the past year has been spent advocating at the federal level for broadband legislation that prioritizes "future-proof," fiber networks.

While fiber advocates may not have gotten everything they wanted from the $65 billion broadband bill (no mandate for symmetrical network speeds, for example), Gary Bolton, president of the Fiber Broadband Association, says on today's podcast that the industry is setting its sights on the states – and the federal agencies overseeing the funds – as they sort out how billions for broadband will be spent.

Of course, fiber providers are not the only ones lobbying for those dollars. "When the politics get in, there's gonna be a lot of pressure to do the wrong thing," said Bolton.

But the stakes of getting it right are high. "It's really about being able to have resilient networks that can be able to do things like provide public safety, be able to be a pathway to 5G, to be able to do smart grid modernization. So this is the critical infrastructure for our future," he said.

Plus, it's now or never: "We will never be in a position to have this much funding available to get fiber to every American," said Bolton.

We also discuss a new fiber optic technician training program that FBA will launch in January, plus ongoing woes around broadband mapping at the FCC and more.

Related episodes:

— Nicole Ferraro, site editor, Broadband World News; senior editor, global broadband coverage, Light Reading. Host of "The Divide" on the Light Reading Podcast.

A version of this story first appeared on Broadband World News.

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