Reps. Eshoo, McKinley Introduce 'Dig Once' Broadband Bill

Bipartisan effort is latest volley in blitz of rural broadband legislation

The introduction of broadband deployment bills continued on Wednesday (Jan. 17) with a bipartisan 'Dig Once' bill from Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and David McKinley (R-W.Va.) tabbed the Broadband Conduit Deployment Act of 2018.

On Tuesday (Jan. 16) Republican legislators, including Rep. Marsha Blackburn, introduced three bills to speed the process of getting broadband to high-cost areas to help close the rural digital divide.

The new bill introduced Wednesday would require that broadband conduits -- a series of tubes and pipes -- that hold fiber optic cables be included in the construction of any road project getting federal funding. That would mean paved roads wouldn't have to be dug up to expand broadband infrastructure, easing deployment and saving money.

Eshoo said she will be introducing her own series of bills to expand broadband. Republicans announced their plans for a series of bills Tuesday.

Eshoo is the former ranking member of the House Communications Subcommittee.

"This common sense, bipartisan legislation is an obvious and straightforward way to bring down the cost of deployment, and to promote competition in denser urban areas," said Public Knowledge SVP Harold Feld."Congress should move this bill forward as quickly as possible, rather than wait to work out the details of a more comprehensive infrastructure bill."