Changes Proposed for ConPlan Rule Related to Broadband and Natural Disaster Resilience

HUD proposes two changes to the Consolidated Plan (ConPlan) regulations, requiring jurisdictions to describe broadband access in housing occupied by low and moderate income households and to consider incorporating the need for policies and programs to address natural disaster hazards.

The consultation and public participation sections of the ConPlan regulations would be amended to require jurisdictions to consult with and encourage participation of public and private organizations that include broadband internet service providers, organizations engaged in narrowing the digital divide, and agencies that have as primary responsibilities the management of flood-prone areas, public land or water resources, and emergency management practices.

The housing market sections of the ConPlan regulations would require jurisdictions to describe the broadband needs of housing occupied by low and moderate income households based on an analysis of data for low and moderate income neighborhoods in the National Broadband Map. Jurisdictions could also use broadband availability data from the Federal Communications Commission Form 477 or other sources. The analysis should include the need for broadband wiring and for connection to broadband service in household units and the need for increased competition among broadband providers.

The housing market sections would require a description of the vulnerability of housing occupied by low and moderate income households to increased natural hazard risks associated with climate change. The description should be based on an analysis of data, findings, and methods in the National Climate Assessment, the Climate Resilience Toolkit, the Impact of Climate Change and Population Growth on the National Flood Insurance Program, or the NIST Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems. The analysis may include other climate risk-related data published by the federal government or other state or local government entity, including data included in hazard mitigation plans approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Comments are due July 18. The proposed rule, published in the Federal Register on May 18, is at: