True Cost of Fiber Deployment
The U.S. DOT’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office estimates the average cost of deploying fiber-optic cable is about $27,000 per mile. That’s cost prohibitive for many telecom companies unless the population of potential customers is large enough to justify the investment. So many small-to-mid-size communities have been skipped over. Economic development opportunities are dwindling, and these areas are not able to attract and retain new businesses and residents.
Dig Once U.S. Federal Legislation
In an effort to make high speed broadband more affordable and accessible, the U.S. Federal Government passed the Telecommunications Act, nicknamed the “Dig Once” legislation. After a decade of various versions of the concept, the bill received overwhelming bi-partisan support with more than 30 co-sponsors.
Eliminating Duplicate Expenses
Essentially, the legislation provides for the notification of federally funded road construction projects where conduit or fiber could be included at the same time. Digging one time for two projects brings tremendous added value and efficient use of resources. The Dig Once legislation has the potential to eliminate up to 90 percent of the cost of deployment, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
Creating Funding Reallocation Opportunities
Those significant savings have long been recognized by several states, counties, and cities, who created their own Dig Once policies years ago. Forward-thinking, budget-savvy local leaders realized if conduit and fiber were laid at the time of road construction, then duplicate construction costs were eliminated (freeing up those funds for other projects).
- States: Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, Utah, West Virginia
- Counties: Arlington County, Va.; El Dorado County, Calif.; Humboldt County, Calif.; San Benito County, Calif.
- Cities: Bellevue, Wash.; Berkeley, Calif.; Boston, Mass.; Brentwood, Calif.; Celina, Texas; Chicago, Ill.; Gonzales, Calif.; Loma Linda, Calif.; Monterey, Calif.; Mount Vernon, Wash.; Poulsbo, Wash.; San Francisco, Calif.; Sandy, Ore.; Santa Cruz, Calif.; Santa Monica, Calif.
- Other: Virginia Tech eCorridor