An interesting piece of legislation was introduced last week by Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) – the Broadband Conduit Act or H.R. 2428. StimulatingBroadband.com offers great insight into this legislation, which would mandate all new federal highway projects to place a broadband conduit during construction. The mandate can be waived where the Department of Transportation and the FCC determine the conduit isn’t necessary. “According to industry experts, more than half of the cost of new broadband deployment is attributable to the expense of tearing up and repaving roads,” stated Rep. Eshoo in a press release announcing the legislation. “By putting the broadband conduit in place while the ground beneath the roadways is exposed, we will enable any authorized communications provider to come in later and install fiber-optic cable at far less cost.”
On the surface the legislation makes a lot of common sense. StimulatingBroadband.com rightly points out the right-of-way headaches associated with building broadband networks. If this legislation helps that in any way, it could prove to be very beneficial to broadband build outs (not to mention the potential construction cost savings it may create). Too bad it wasn’t introduced twenty years ago, before much of the nation’s current broadband infrastructure was painstakingly assembled.