The “Dig Once” Initiative Makes A Ton of Sense

U.S. lawmakers are reportedly considering a new proposal that, if passed, could prove to be significantly valuable to the domestic broadband industry.

The policy, which is still in the early drafting stage, is called “dig once.” According to Ars Technica,  it would involve installing fiber conduits almost every time roads and sidewalks are either newly constructed or upgraded. These empty pipes could be installed with or without fiber, and then easily modified once construction is complete.  

What’s really interesting is that the bill has bipartisan support, which shows just how important it is for the industry. Republican and Democrats are both on board with the proposal, and even TechFreedom — a libertarian think tank — agrees that this bill makes sense. So with all of this momentum, it should only be a matter of time before we see this become a reality. At least we hope.

The big reason why this bill has so much support is that it will significantly reduce future construction projects, which will spare taxpayers and businesses extra costs down the road. It’s simply a matter of laying extra pipe down during an initial construction project, versus having to go back at a later date to start a new one for fiber optics. Construction teams could therefore kill two birds with one stone.

Plus, having access to more conduits would make it easier for businesses to access fiber optic cables in the future. So if an enterprise or even a data center were to move to a particular area, it would be able to tap into pre-existing conduits and connect to a local service provider. Fiber connectivity could be easily procured.

Here at GLDS, we support the “dig once” initiative and we hope that it moves forward and gets drafted into law. The legislation would make fiber optics more accessible for businesses, and it would also save a great deal of time and effort down the road for all parties involved.

This legislation also comes at an important time, as fiber connectivity is in high demand for enterprises and service providers. The global fiber optic market, for instance, will grow at a compound annual growth rate of more than 5 percent between 2017 and 2022, when the market will reach $3.72 billion. It’s crucial that here in the U.S., we continue to grow with this evolving market and make fiber connectivity more widespread. It will be an important factor for keeping businesses on U.S. soil as other countries improve their connectivity standards.

What’s more, the project won’t cost much up front. According to TechFreedom, the cost of installing a conduit adds about one percent to the total cost of a project.

So, how do you feel about the “dig once plan?” Let us know your thoughts.