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Solutions: Infrastructure - Analyze Local Policies

Perform an Analysis of Local Policies and Ordinances

GOAL: Ensure that local policies and ordinances are conducive to wired and wireless broadband build-out.

DESCRIPTION: High capital investment costs, including permit processing, pole attachment costs, and lack of effective planning and coordination with public authorities, negatively impact the case for deployment. For example, the FCC’s National Broadband Plan concludes that, “the rates, terms, and conditions for access to rights-of-way [including pole attachments] significantly impact broadband deployment.”  The costs associated with obtaining permits and leasing pole attachments and rights-of-way is one of the most expensive cost functions in a service provider’s plans to expand or upgrade service, especially in rural markets where the ratio of poles to households goes off the charts.  Furthermore, the process is time consuming. “Make ready” work, which involves moving wires and other equipment attached to a pole to ensure proper spacing between equipment and compliance with electric and safety codes, can take months to complete.

Community and provider collaboration to problem solve around local pole attachment and other right-of-way issues is one of the most effective opportunities to encourage faster, new deployment of infrastructure.


Speak with providers and determine barriers they face at a local and county level.

Review local policies, ordinances, and other barriers to broadband deployment and consult with community leaders, providers, utilities, and other members of the community to ensure that they are supporting policies (local ordinances, pole attachments, rights-of-way) that are conducive to broadband build-out.

Develop an awareness campaign targeting local government leaders to inform them of the benefits of broadband to the entire community.


Local units of government, particular planning and zoning officials; Broadband providers; County government, particular road commissions; Utility companies and pole owners; Others with right-of-way jurisdiction


Guide to best practices for reducing local barriers to broadband expansion:

Cutting red tape for tower construction: