Report: “Dig Once” Legislation Could Save Taxpayers $126 Billion

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A new report by Broadband Now states that America could save $126 billion in fiber broadband deployment with a reasonably simple law, reported Vice. Telecom experts have long pushed for a “dig once” bill that would mandate the installation of fiber conduit during roadway construction and upgrades, making running fiber much easier and saving taxpayers money.

The government claims 90 percent of deployment costs come from burying fiber. 

Goldman Sachs estimates it could cost upwards of $140 billion to build high-speed service out to the entire country; however, if dig once was enacted, the estimated total falls to $14 billion, according to Broadband Now.

Routinely proposed since 1996, dig once legislation continually fails to gain traction in Congress. Matt Wood, General Counsel of consumer group Free Press, told Motherboard, one reason the law can’t pass is due to big ISPs. AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast aren’t keen on anything that would make it easier for competitors to challenge their regional broadband monopolies, according to Wood.

Currently, 11 states and 18 cities have dig once policies in place, but broader adoption has been slow going, reported Vice. Wood called a federal dig once law a “no brainer” as it would help clarify authority conflicts across varying levels of government. 

August 14, 2019   

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