Discussion paper

Municipal Broadband Networks—Opportunities, Business Models, Challenges, and Case Studies

November 17, 2021

The accelerated use of digital services during the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of high-speed Internet access. Yet a large share of adults in emerging markets still live in cities where the availability of high-speed Internet is limited. There is a strong case to be made for municipal broadband networks, which are fully or partially facilitated, built, operated, or financed by local governments, often in partnership with the private sector. There are three basic models for creating and operating these networks, and every network must work in the unique context of the city it will serve. But if they are well implemented, these models can offer digital access to city residents, help close the digital divide, and create opportunities for private sector players in both advanced and emerging markets.