Forty-Three States Prioritize Broadband Access December 10, 2020 Mike Tippets, Vice President, Enterprise Marketing Broadband , Government Solutions false States are adding Hughes to their list of preferred providers so state and local organizations can overcome connectivity and networking challenges Recently, in an October 2020 blogpost, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) acknowledged that roughly 9 out of 10 adults in America use the internet and consider it to be a necessity of modern life. Consequently, “because access to the internet is unavailable or inadequate in parts of the country, states and the federal government are focusing on deploying broadband—the technologies that allow internet data to be transmitted at high speeds—as universally as possible.” In the 2020 legislative session, NCSL noted that 43 states and Guam addressed broadband issues as a top priority. Hughes is working closely with multiple states and the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) ValuePoint™ program. The objective is to provide simple procurement programs so that agencies can easily move forward with broadband initiatives. A recent example is the State of Georgia, which added Hughes as an access and managed service provider to its Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) Direct program. Hughes Broadband and Managed Services is bringing expanded services to better meet the needs of the state’s constituents. The GTA Direct program provides a quick path to managed IT services from pre-qualified providers and makes those services available to Georgia agencies, local governments, colleges and universities, and boards of education statewide. Since Hughes is now included on the program’s list of most qualified suppliers and there’s a GTA Master Services Agreement (MSA) in place, organizations are able to purchase services directly from Hughes. Removing complexity is a game changer for state and local agencies, because many field offices are situated in areas with legacy infrastructure. Having an MSA at the state level ensures that agencies and organizations—regardless of their shape, size, and location—can rely on vetted providers like Hughes for the types of services they desperately need. For example, the HughesON Managed Broadband Service includes a complete portfolio of connectivity options for coverage—including for hard-to-reach remote locations. Relying on its network partners across the country, Hughes will successfully integrate the right mix of transport technologies and partners to meet an agency’s needs. That may involve wireline such as Fiber or Cable and wireless services, including 4G and 5G LTE, point-to-point microwave, and satellite. Another solution is Hughes Managed SD-WAN (a Software Defined WAN), which uses innovative technologies to transform “best-effort” broadband into an enterprise-grade Wide Area Network (WAN) at a price point far below traditional solutions such as Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS). The result is that Managed SD-WAN essentially increases the “virtual bandwidth” available at field locations and improves network performance without costly physical link upgrades. This is more critical than ever, since organizations are operating in bandwidth intensive (Zoom and MS Teams!) environments. Plus, Managed SD-WAN has robust security layers to protect an agency or organization against data breaches and provide greater peace of mind to government administrators. All of this will be welcomed news for state and local government entities who have struggled to handle rising network complexity (and broadband disparity) and who now can efficiently and cost-effectively procure managed network services to overcome these challenges. 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