Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) believes the best way to resolve the FCC's concerns that broadband is not being deployed in a timely manner is to require any federal highway construction to include the installation of plastic conduit to carry fiber cable.
By deploying fiber conduit in conjunction with any federal highway project, Eshoo argues service providers will be able to not only reduce broadband rollout times, but do it for a lot less money than it would take to dig up roads later. According to a Federal Highway Administration study, it is 10 times more expensive to dig up and repair a road to lay fiber.
"This legislation is a creative approach to more rapidly deploy broadband service, promote competition and do so with limited federal dollars," Eshoo said. "This 'dig once' policy would expand broadband at a fraction of the cost by including the conduit as roads are being built."
Interestingly, the Eshoo bill is getting support from the cable industry, which has refuted the notion that broadband is not being deployed fast enough.
Michael Powell, the CEO of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, said that "We applaud Rep. Eshoo for introduction of the Broadband Conduit Deployment Act of 2011, which will facilitate the further deployment of broadband service throughout the U.S."
- The Hill has this article
FCC forms task force to speed up broadband deployment
NCTA names Michael Powell president-CEO
NCTA contends broadband stimulus funding is being misallocated
Broadband stimulus: Clarity is needed, say service providers