Here’s something I missed last week. Apparently there’s a new bill circulating in Congress proposing that fiber conduits be deployed as part of any federal highway project. How utterly sensible. This would significantly lower the cost for providers that later want to come in and lay the actual fiber optic cable. Between the combination of stimulus money for highway projects and broadband deployment, this also sounds like the kind of thing that could actually get funded.
It’s tough to build out any kind of infrastructure, and frankly I doubt the Interstate system we have in place could ever be built if we had to start it today (environmental and community objections, etc). Broadband infrastructure doesn’t necessarily have the same difficulties facing it as new roads do, but I’m nonetheless in favor or anything that makes build-out easier.
Meanwhile, remember that more than 60% of US cable operators have plans this year to light up fiber that’s already in the ground. And the Administration has its own national broadband plan in the works due out in the fall. The plan should extend broadband access further, particularly in critically under-served rural areas.