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'Dig Once' Broadband Bill Introduced

The broadband deployment bills are coming thick and fast this week. Republican legislators introduced three bills Tuesday (Jan. 16) to speed the process of getting broadband to high-cost areas to help close the rural digital divide.

The latest addition Wednesday (Jan. 17) was a bipartisan 'Dig Once' bill from Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and David McKinley (R-W. Va.) tabbed the Broadband Conduit Deployment Act of 2018.

The bill would require that broadband conduits--a series of tubes/pipes--that hold fiber optic cables be included in the construction of any road project getting federal funding. That means paved road don't have to be dug up to expand broadband infrastructure, easing deployment and saving money.

Eshoo says she will be introducing her own series of bills to expand broadband. Republicans announced their plans for a series of bills Tuesday.

Eshoo is the former ranking member of the House Communications Subcommittee.

"This common sense, bipartisan legislation is an obvious and straightforward way to bring down the cost of deployment, and to promote competition in denser urban areas," said Public Knowledge SVP Harold Feld."Congress should move this bill forward as quickly as possible, rather than wait to work out the details of a more comprehensive infrastructure bill."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.