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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Federal Highway Administration Proposes New Rule to Advance Broadband Technology in Rural America

Thursday, August 13, 2020

FHWA 16-20
Contact: Nancy Singer/Doug Hecox
Tel.: 202-366-0660

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration today proposed a new rule to improve coordination in the use of highway rights-of-way to support the installation of broadband technologies.

“The ‘dig once’ rule will help reduce inefficiencies during highway construction projects and increase access to broadband capabilities for communities,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

Highway rights-of-way are commonly used to accommodate public utilities, such as phone lines, electrical lines and pipelines. Expanding their use to include wireless broadband technology is a critical next step in advancing connectivity in rural America. 

The proposed rule would help improve coordination with construction projects and ensure that the digging required to install utilities also be utilized for installation of broadband infrastructure, decreasing repeat excavation and minimizing disruption to the traveling public.

“By streamlining the process and improving coordination, we will help improve access to broadband technology in rural areas,” said Federal Highway Administrator Nicole R. Nason.

Nason added that broadband is also necessary to support a highway system of the future calling for the safe and effective integration of automated vehicles.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking appears in today's Federal Register.

The public is invited to submit its comments during the 30-day public comment period.

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