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Eshoo and McKinley Introduce Legislation to Expand Broadband Choice in Local Communities

January 19th, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C— Today Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) and Congressman David B. McKinley (R-WV) introduced the CLIMB ONCE Act, legislation to cut down on the time and cost of deploying new broadband equipment on utility poles.

When deploying broadband, providers often need access to utility or telephone poles to string fiber or other equipment.  These poles have a number of other wires and equipment attached to them such as telephone lines and cable television wires. Before a new provider can attach its equipment to the pole, the other owners of equipment on the pole need to be asked to assess and potentially move their wires to make room.  This is known as “make ready” work and it can often be a costly and cumbersome process because each individual equipment owner sends their own contractor to move their equipment before new equipment can be installed.

“One touch” make-ready policies allow for a list of pre-approved contractors that pole owners agree on to handle make-ready work, eliminating the need for multiple contractors to perform the work. In jurisdictions that already implement one-touch-make-ready, or “climb once” policies, consumers experience lower prices, better service, and more choice.

The CLIMB ONCE Act ensures that no federal laws can impede the ability of states and localities to implement “climb once” policies if they choose to, and directs the FCC to establish best practices and model policies that states and local governments may use to shape their own one-touch-make-ready implementation.

The CLIMB ONCE Act is the third in a series of bills Eshoo introduced on broadband access with the goals of expanding access, reducing costs, and increasing consumer choice.

“These bills are a set of commonsense, targeted proposals designed to empower states and local governments to bridge the digital divide because far too many consumers lack access to a choice of providers. With ‘climb once’ policies, broadband deployment becomes more efficient and less expensive when fewer construction crews are needed to prepare and attach new equipment to poles. A more efficient ‘make ready’ process can make communities more attractive to new broadband providers, leading to better service, lower prices, faster speeds and more choices for consumers,” Rep. Eshoo said.

“This bipartisan legislation follows up on our “dig once” bill, aimed at deploying state-of-the-art broadband infrastructure. These two bills combined will provide a major lift to rural states like West Virginia. 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.

Read more about the Broadband Conduit Deployment Act of 2018 and the Community Broadband Act here and here.

Full bill text here.

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