The desire for widespread broadband access is well known to local governments across the country. While every city, county and rural area would like to have superfast Internet speeds, the reality is that infrastructure challenges make the adoption of fiber a slow and tedious process.
Groups like UTOPIA are building out infrastructure in Utah and leasing the fiber lines to local Internet service providers. In several cities, Google is rolling out its now-famous Google Fiber program. Regardless of how the lines are built, owned and operated, local governments play a key role in facilitating the development.
Broadband consulting company CTC Technology & Energy has released a checklist to guide governments that want to bring fiber to their cities.
Access to Key Assets
Lease public access such as fiber, conduit, and real estate
- Lease middle-mile fiber
- Lease fiber in hard-to-reach areas
- Increase existing fiber capacity if insufficient fiber exists
Facilitate underground construction
- Develop a "dig-once" policy
- Maintain future-proof conduit specifications
- Enable all parties to take advantage of "dig-once"
- Place conduit banks in congested areas
Facilitate aerial construction through access to utility poles
- Facilitate make-ready process to streamline pole access
- Eliminate the need for make-ready
Facilitate in-building access for wireline infrastructure
- Ensure availability of conduit from street to building
- Ensure installation of in-building pathways and cabling
Make data available wherever possible
- Make GIS datasets available
Document and publish data regarding available conduit, fiber, and other assets
- Document your fiber assets
- Document your conduit assets
Build broadband into planning and staffing of all relevant agencies
Streamline and publicize procedures and timeframes for permitting inspections
Allow network operators to contract pre-approved third-party inspectors to speed processes and reduce local burdens
CTC Technology & Energy has also released a more robust report — Gigabit Communities: Technical Strategies for Facilitating Public or Private Broadband Construction in Your Community — which can be downloaded for free from the company’s website.