By Alex Tcherkassky, Reporter, BroadbandCensus.com
WASHINGTON, June 16, 2009 - Legislation to require federal highway construction to include conduits and fiber was introduced in the Senate Monday by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Mark Warner, D-Va. The Broadband Conduit Deployment Act of 2009 joins a similar House bill introduced last month by Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif.
The bill is almost identical to H.R. 2428, which amends the Federal Highway Act to require new construction using federal funding to employ "industry best practices" in placing "an appropriate number of broadband conduits" to accommodate multiple broadband providers. The Secretary of Transportation would be responsible for determining the number and placement of such conduits.
The bill is largely based on the work of the New America Foundation, which released a paper on building "a 21st Century Broadband Superhighway" in January.
Sen. Klobuchar should be praised for "leading the charge to bring universal, affordable broadband access to underserved communities throughout the United States," said Sascha Meinrath, director of the foundation's Wireless Future Program. "After a half-decade of broadband stagnation, the United States now has an opportunity to catch up and implement a truly innovative program," he said.
During a confirmation hearing Tuesday for Federal Communiations Commission Chairman-designate Julius Genachowski, Klobuchar said her "dig once" bill should be taken seriously by the FCC. Genachowski expressed his support for the bill as a common-sense solution to increasing broadband deployment.