Logical and cheaper. Two words you never associate with the federal government. Yet, the Obama administration has officially endorsed the dig once proposal for spreading and enabling upgrades to broadband Internet infrastructure.
What is ‘dig once?’ Instead of communication companies ripping up streets and causing a general mess every time the company wants to lay new line or upgrade existing connections, the policy would call for one dig.
A tube would be buried and act as a conduit for companies to install new lines. If a company wants to replace broadband with fiber? Use the existing conduit to lay down the new lines.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, the policy would cut the cost of broadband deployment by 90 percent. In theory, the ease of upgrading connections would lead to both faster speeds and cheaper prices for the consumer. I don’t doubt faster. It’s the cheaper prices that earn the sarcastic uh huh.
“‘Dig Once’ policies promote broadband competition, reduce costs for broadband providers and decrease road-related costs from repeated excavation,” the report reads.
Ok, the plan doesn’t sound dumb enough. For me to believe a program comes from the federal government, it has to have a certain level of incredulity baked in. Dig once makes perfect sense from a price, infrastructure and policy point of view.
The government could take it a step further and bury power lines while installing the tube. That probably makes too much sense. Baby steps.
President Obama has made the expansion of broadband access a key pillar of his eight years in office. Internet access is no longer considered a luxury. It has firmly entrenched itself as a necessity as we head deeper into the 21st century.
The Broadband Opportunity Council Report released on Monday called on agencies to speed up the process of handing out grants to expand access and online services.
The lack of access is a problem in rural areas. Take where I live. We are literally at the end of Comcast’s coverage area. We have the fastest package, yet two miles away, broadband from Comcast is not even offered. Broadband expansion is vital.
And if companies want to dig up everything, we may as well have the dig once policy. Upgrades become easier, and we won’t have to hear the ISPs complain about the capital expenditures. Win-win.