Broadband infrastructure deployment

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§1504. Broadband infrastructure deployment

(a) Definitions

In this section:

(1) Appropriate State agency

The term "appropriate State agency" means a State governmental agency that is recognized by the executive branch of the State as having the experience necessary to evaluate and carry out projects relating to the proper and effective installation and operation of broadband infrastructure.

(2) Broadband infrastructure

The term "broadband infrastructure" means any buried, underground, or aerial facility, and any wireless or wireline connection, that enables users to send and receive voice, video, data, graphics, or any combination thereof.

(3) Broadband infrastructure entity

The term "broadband infrastructure entity" means any entity that-

(A) installs, owns, or operates broadband infrastructure; and

(B) provides broadband services in a manner consistent with the public interest, convenience, and necessity, as determined by the State.

(4) State

The term "State" means-

(A) a State;

(B) the District of Columbia; and

(C) the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

(b) Broadband infrastructure deployment

To facilitate the installation of broadband infrastructure, the Secretary of Transportation shall promulgate regulations to ensure that each State that receives funds under chapter 1 of title 23 meets the following requirements:

(1) Broadband consultation

The State department of transportation, in consultation with appropriate State agencies, shall-

(A) identify a broadband utility coordinator, that may have additional responsibilities, whether in the State department of transportation or in another State agency, that is responsible for facilitating the broadband infrastructure right-of-way efforts within the State;

(B) establish a process for the registration of broadband infrastructure entities that seek to be included in those broadband infrastructure right-of-way facilitation efforts within the State;

(C) establish a process to electronically notify broadband infrastructure entities identified under subparagraph (B) of the State transportation improvement program on an annual basis and provide additional notifications as necessary to achieve the goals of this section; and

(D) coordinate initiatives carried out under this section with other statewide telecommunication and broadband plans and State and local transportation and land use plans, including strategies to minimize repeated excavations that involve the installation of broadband infrastructure in a right-of-way.

(2) Priority

If a State chooses to provide for the installation of broadband infrastructure in the right-of-way of an applicable Federal-aid highway project under this subsection, the State department of transportation shall carry out any appropriate measures to ensure that any existing broadband infrastructure entities are not disadvantaged, as compared to other broadband infrastructure entities, with respect to the program under this subsection.

(c) Effect of section

This section applies only to activities for which Federal obligations or expenditures are initially approved on or after the date regulations under subsection (b) become effective. Nothing in this section establishes a mandate or requirement that a State install or allow the installation of broadband infrastructure in a highway right-of-way. Nothing in this section authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to withhold or reserve funds or approval of a project under title 23.

( Pub. L. 115–141, div. P, title VI, §607, Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 1104 .)

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