WASHINGTON DC – In an effort to bolster national broadband deployment the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced several new tools and resources that will reduce barriers for companies to install broadband infrastructure on federal properties and roads. The federal government owns or manages nearly 30 percent of all land in the United States, including 10,000 buildings nationwide. These properties can provide excellent pathways for deployment of broadband infrastructure. Last year President Obama signed an Executive Order to make broadband construction projects along Federal roadways and properties cheaper and more efficient. These new steps will build on this progress.
The new tools and resources will make it easier for companies to build out high-speed Internet, particularly in underserved communities. The administration has also released of a progress report, “Implementing Executive Order 13616: Progress on Accelerating Broadband Infrastructure Deployment” on implementation of the President’s Executive Order. Both the tools and the report were developed by a federal working group made up of 14 federal agencies charged with managing Federal properties and roads.
New tools and resources for broadband carriers include:
Interactive Mapping Tool – Allows carriers and communities to view and identify opportunities to leverage Federal properties for the deployment of high-speed Internet networks. For example this map can help the wireless industry identify Federal rooftops where commercial antennas can be placed to support wireless networks. The national map includes data on broadband availability, environmental or historic information, property locations, and contact information so companies can easily obtain more information. The map was built with open government data, displayed in a new way to make it easier for carriers to take advantage of Federal assets in planning or expanding their networks.
“Dig Once” Guide – Includes best practices and policies to help carriers time their broadband deployment activities to periods when streets are already under construction—an approach that can reduce network deployment costs along Federal roadways by up to 90 percent.
Broadband Inventory Toolkit – A one-stop shop for companies to access permitting forms, lease agreements, and other federal broadband application documents from various agencies. This web page will make it easier for carriers to navigate the process for accessing Federal lands and properties, which can involve multiple federal and state agencies that have their own processes for granting access to their assets.
Common Forms and Templates Across Agencies – The General Services Administration is working to implement common forms and templates across agencies, such as a single master application for deploying broadband on Federal properties, to provide multiple broadband service providers and public-safety entities with streamlined business documents for the deployment of wireline and wireless facilities on Federal property. Going forward, the Department of Agriculture is also working to develop an on-line electronic application form to further streamline the process.
Online Broadband Projects Platform – Located on the Department of Transportation’s Federal Infrastructure Projects Permitting Dashboard, this platform will allow agencies to identify and expedite key broadband projects and to publicly track their status.