How do you help customers who want fiber broadband where it’s unavailable?

For starters, do everything you can to speed up the fiber deployment process. Encourage your local government to enact policies that help broadband installers and smart home builders do their jobs more efficiently.

Find out which of the following policies are in place in your region and which ones are needed.

Dig once

Government representatives in Canada and the U.S. have acknowledged the benefits of a dig once policy. With this policy, any time new roads are built, a large conduit must be installed unless one is already in place. The conduit is to accommodate any future needs, and it can be used by any company. If a broadband cable provider wants to add fiber optic internet to a neighborhood, they can route their cables through the conduit. This saves the broadband company time and money.

On March 6, 2018, a dig once measure was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. This policy requires that a conduit be installed during the construction of any federally-funded road project. Dig once policies are in effect in many states and municipalities as well. In Canada, a dig once policy has been discussed but no legislation has been tabled yet.

One touch

Many broadband cables are installed using the power infrastructure already in place. Sometimes the utility pole was set up with no consideration for other service providers. That can make broadband deployment a challenge. Before internet lines go in, other users must adjust their installation to make way for the new user.

With one touch policies, governments can ensure that the installation of each line – power, telephone, internet – takes future use into consideration. A one touch policy would not only allow for faster deployment of broadband, but it would also mean less traffic congestion as workers would spend less time on each installation.

Access to Multiple Dwelling Units (MDUs)

We know that access to high-speed internet is the single most important amenity for the majority of MDUs. According to a survey conducted by the Fiber Broadband Association, most people also want a choice in service providers.

While many facility managers and building owners permit a choice of providers, this is not always the case. Residents in some buildings are stuck with the provider that has worked out a deal with the owner.

Government policies can ensure that consumers are able to work with their preferred provider. Some states and provinces have these laws in place, but they are by no means universal.

Permit and approval processes for microtrenching

Microtrenching is a low-impact method of broadband deployment that would be more common with a streamlined approval process. It involves cutting narrow, shallow trenches into pavement, sidewalks or existing infrastructure. This allows ISPs to deploy broadband with a minimal impact on residents and businesses, and it’s a great solution for established neighborhoods.

Microtrenches are typically 0.75 inches to 1.25 inches wide and 8 to 16 inches deep. Cut with a circular saw, this avoids the risk of hitting gas lines, as those are typically buried a minimum of 24 inches deep.

Maybe lobbying for government policy is out of your comfort zone, but, if it impacts your job, consider speaking on the behalf of broadband-seeking customers everywhere!