Cutting the red tape for fiber broadband deployment
Fiber Broadband Association, , 2/27/2020
Recently, at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the 5G workforce and barriers to broadband deployment, I delivered very good news about all-fiber network deployments in the US: Today, according to our research, 46.5 million American homes have access to all-fiber networks and 20.5 million are connected. This is a 16% increase in homes passed by fiber since 2018 – a huge win for connectivity and 5G in this country.
But we can accelerate this pace even further by lowering private and public barriers to fiber deployment.
The Fiber Broadband Association has a long-held mission to support the building and deployment of all-fiber networks by any and every provider, including electric co-operatives or municipalities that choose to build their own networks. These providers know what their communities need more than anyone. However, some state and local laws can stand in the way of these networks being built. This needs to change: Communities should be able to control their own broadband destiny.
Beyond these entry barriers, building all-fiber networks also requires navigating ordinances and employing the right people with the right skills to get it done. Providers often have very good relationships with state and local governments on these issues, and they have done a lot of great work to get networks off the ground. We believe that the government’s role is to place guardrails to deal with the outliers and to remove unnecessary red tape for fiber deployment. With that in mind, we will continue to advocate for removing barriers to fiber deployment and entry obstacles, particularly access to pole attachments, railroad easements and state and local rights of way.
State and local rights-of-way
In 2020, we will work with our members, partners and policymakers to tackle these other barriers to all-fiber network deployment together. Deployment of this fundamental infrastructure throughout the country is essential to securing a future adapted to an economy that is increasingly dependent on high-speed connectivity. We look forward to collaborating with Congress, state and local governments, and the private sector to remove barriers to deployment and bridge the digital divide in this country together.
— Lisa R. Youngers is President and CEO of the Fiber Broadband Association (FBA), the only all-fiber trade association in the Americas. Follow them on Twitter @fiberbroadband.
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