STATE: Policy will expand internet access for North Carolina residents

Published 3:27 pm Monday, April 26, 2021

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From Gov. Cooper’s Office:

More North Carolinians, especially in rural areas, will be able to access affordable, high-speed internet service, thanks to the new state Dig Once Policy spearheaded by Gov. Roy Cooper.

“The pandemic has highlighted the critical need for high-speed internet in our daily lives,” said Cooper. “Making it easier to install broadband will help people from all corners of our state get connected to online health care, education and business services they need.”

The Dig Once Policy, which took effect March 1, will help expand broadband access in the state by making it less expensive and easier to install broadband conduit along state-maintained roads. Cooper issued a 2019 executive order directing the state departments of Information Technology and Transportation to develop the policy.

“Too many North Carolinians cannot access the high-speed internet service they need for school, jobs and other daily necessities,” said Jim Weaver, secretary and state chief information officer of the N.C. Department of Information Technology. “By making it easier and less costly to install broadband, this policy will provide much needed incentives to expand broadband to unserved or underserved areas of our state.”

North Carolina’s Dig Once Policy requires internet service providers who are installing or relocating facilities within a state road project to advertise their project so other internet service providers can install their fiber optic cable when the trench is dug for the conduit.

“We’re very excited about putting this policy to work,” said state Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette. “It will save people money, reduce the risk of cutting utility lines, protect the environment and require fewer traffic disruptions on state road projects.”

One of the most expensive parts of installing broadband comes about when companies dig an open trench to install the fiber. The policy will enable multiple internet service providers to collaborate, disturb the ground just once to install conduit and share the costs for fiber installation.

For more information, read the state Dig Once Policy or the NCDIT’s web page on these policies.