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Eshoo and McKinley Introduce ‘Dig Once’ Legislation to Reduce Cost of Expanding Broadband

January 17th, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Congressman David B. McKinley (R-WV) introduced the Broadband Conduit Deployment Act of 2018. This commonsense legislation, commonly referred to as ‘Dig Once’, would mandate the inclusion of broadband conduit—plastic pipes which house fiber-optic communications cable—during the construction of any road receiving federal funding. This practice will eliminate the need to dig up recently-paved roads to expand broadband infrastructure, significantly reducing the cost of increasing Internet access to underserved communities across the country.

“Broadband networks are critical to our country’s economic success by facilitating job creation, new business growth, and connectivity to important Internet services,” said Congresswoman Eshoo, who introduced similar legislation in 2009, 2011, and 2015. “Today our information highways are just as important as our interstate highways.”

This creative, bipartisan proposal will reduce costs drastically. “By laying broadband conduit during construction of roads that receive federal funding, broadband providers can later install fiber-optic cable without costly excavation of newly built roads,” explained Rep. Eshoo. The Federal Highway Administration estimates it is ten times more expensive to lay fiber under an existing road, than to dig a channel for it when the road is being fixed or built.

“This bipartisan legislation makes it easier to deploy state-of-the-art broadband infrastructure, which will provide a major lift to rural communities nationwide. Internet access is crucial to compete in the 21st Century economy, and we’ve seen firsthand how it creates jobs and spurs economic development,” said Rep. David B. McKinley. “Digging up existing roads to install fiber-optic cable is ten times more expensive than laying it at the outset. This solution will save costs and increase access for rural states like West Virginia.”

The Broadband Conduit Deployment Act of 2018 is the first in a series of bills Congresswoman Eshoo will be introducing to expand broadband access in local communities across the country.

Full bill text here.

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