Proposed Bill Would Have Fiber Conduit Built Into Every New Road

Justin Kerr

Depending on where you check your stats, the US ranks anywhere from 15th to 22nd in broadband speeds, falling way behind other countries such as Iceland, Denmark, and even Canada. The broadband problem in the US gets even worse as you move out further into the rural areas where some communities have the choice of dial up, or if they have a ton of money to burn, super high latency satellite. This is a problem that won’t be solved overnight, but a new bill proposed in Congress last week by Democratic Representative Anna Eshoo, might just be the long term solution everyone is looking for.

The new bill would force governments to build fiber conduit into the sides of all new road projects allowing high-speed connections to flow naturally throughout the country. The costs are expected to be relatively low, since the bulk of the cost associated with laying new fiber is digging up and burying the cables.

Eshoo is the representative pushing the proposal forward in Congress, but doesn’t deserve full credit for the idea. The concept was initially proposed last year in the New America Foundation’s playbook , a guide published by Ben Lennett and Sascha Meinrath who were advisors to the Obama campaign on tech issues. The cost of the fiber optic cables will still be paid by private companies, but it will make for a much more compelling return on investment for fiber deployments in the future.

With all the new roads the Obama administration is proposing to stimulate the economy, this certainly seems like an idea they should implement sooner, rather than later. What do you think?

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