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96 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.broadbandcommunities.com | JULY 2016 THE GIGABIT HIGHWAY A Community Toolkit For the Nation Promoting fiber deployment: a guide for the next U.S. administration By Heather Burnett Gold / FTTH Council Americas A ll it takes is tuning in to any cable news channel to see that the politics of this presidential election cycle are a bit polarizing. However, though there are ample opportunities for disagreement this election season, broadband investment is and should remain a priority shared on both sides of the aisle. Next-generation networks are improving the lives of residents, businesses and institutions in cities big and small, from Taylorville, Illinois, to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Research suggests that, during the next administration, more than half of North America's existing 1,000 fiber-to- the-home operators will begin offering gigabit service. e next administration will also see a surge of not-yet-served communities seeking providers to bring them all-fiber infrastructure. Presidential candidates must adopt policies and platforms that further encourage the growth of fiber throughout the country, spurring economic growth and enhancing the quality of life for all Americans. All-fiber networks are quickly becoming the norm, and to prepare the next president, the FTTH Council is offering a "community toolkit" for the nation that contains everything the new administration will need to know. is framework will continue to build on the experience and expertise of our members in creating these future-proof investments, including the white papers and policy prescriptions contained in our online Community Toolkit (toolkit.ftthcouncil.org) and filed in numerous proceedings. A POLICY FRAMEWORK 1. Advance forward-leaning policies to cut down deployment times. e next administration needs to streamline the federal construction and permitting process while expanding statutory rights to access poles, ducts and conduits to accelerate deployment. e FTTH Council also advocates for the implementation of "one touch" make ready for pole attachments and "dig once" policies for access to rights-of-way because these policies would decrease costs while increasing the speed of deployment. 2. Become fiber friendly. e FTTH Council's Community Toolkit provides strategies for local communities to make themselves fiber ready. Following our example, the federal government should develop a handbook of best practices that communities can leverage to improve the business case for all-fiber deployments. A one-stop shop for communities to find information pertaining to rights-of-way, government-owned facilities, and receiving government permission would clear a path for prospective broadband infrastructure projects. 3. Build a road map for accessing federal funding. Outlined in the FTTH Council's Community Toolkit is a guide that provides local communities with information about federal funding that can be used to deploy all- fiber networks. However, compiling this information across different agencies and ensuring it is up to date has proved challenging. e next administration should see that this information is centralized and inventoried. An easy-to-use road map of all federal resources available for funding would have a significant impact on communities throughout the development and deployment process. Although the outcome of this election is uncertain, you can count on the FTTH Council to continue its work as the town crier, educator and chief advocate for FTTH deployments to make these efforts a reality. v Heather Burnett Gold is president and CEO of the Fiber to the Home Council Americas, a nonprofit association whose mission is to accelerate deployment of all-fiber access networks. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.