Sending Office: Honorable Anna G. Eshoo
Request for Cosponsor(s)
Cosponsor the Bipartisan Broadband Conduit Deployment Act
‘Dig Once’ Policy to Expand Broadband Infrastructure Deployment
Eshoo, Green, Welch, Garamendi, Khanna, Lujan, Meeks, DelBene, Doyle, Rush, Clarke, McNerney, Cardenas, Swalwell, DeGette, Pocan, Butterfield, Matsui, Huffman, Norton,
McKinley, Carson, Collins
February 1, 2018
Ensuring that all Americans have access to quality and affordable broadband must be a top priority for our country. Despite the gains we’ve made in recent years connecting more Americans to broadband, far too many still lack access to this vital resource.
That’s why we’ve introduced the Broadband Conduit Deployment Act of 2017 to help lower broadband deployment costs and spur build-out in areas that need it.
Our commonsense, bipartisan legislation would mandate the inclusion of broadband conduit—plastic pipes which house fiber-optic communications cable—during the construction of any road receiving federal funding if there is a demonstrated need for broadband
in the area within the next 15 years.
We call it a ‘dig once’ policy.
By putting broadband conduit in place when construction of roads takes place, we will enable communications providers to install fiber-optic cable at far less cost and avoid tearing up our roads and highways needlessly. This is especially important in rural
areas where there is a great need for infrastructure buildout and updates, and where there is lower economic incentive for big providers to build out network infrastructure independently. ‘Dig once’ can lay the groundwork for anyone who wants to serve those
communities to do so at lower costs and help to bridge the digital divide.
The cost savings are significant. The Federal Highway Administration estimates it is ten times more expensive to dig up and then repair an existing road to lay fiber, than to dig a channel for it while the road is being fixed or built. Another study by the
Government Accountability Office found that a ‘dig once’ policy can save 25 to 33 percent in construction costs in urban areas and roughly 16 percent in rural areas.
The House of Representatives passed H.R. 5537, the Digital Gap Act,, by a voice vote in the last Congress. Section 4 of that bill stated that it is the policy of the United States to promote ‘build-once’ initiatives and approaches in developing
countries, but the United States should set an example for the rest of the world by formally adopting this policy ourselves through enactment of the Broadband Conduit Deployment Act. In fact, just last Congress, this commonsense bipartisan proposal
enjoyed 55 cosponsors.
Maintaining a robust broadband infrastructure is not just a matter of creating jobs and stimulating economic growth here at home. Ultimately, it’s a matter of economic necessity in a globally-connected, competitive marketplace. This legislation is intended
to reduce the barriers to deployment, and increase investment and competition for broadband.
To cosponsor this legislation, you can contact Kate Forscey (Eshoo) at 5-8104 or Nik Schoenherr (McKinley) at 5-4172.
Anna G. Eshoo David B. McKinley, P.E.
Member of Congress Member of Congress
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