This is historical material “frozen in time”. The website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work.

Search form

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Executive Order -- Accelerating Broadband Infrastructure Deployment

- - - - - - -

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 301 of title 3, United States Code, and in order to facilitate broadband deployment on Federal lands, buildings, and rights of way, federally assisted highways, and tribal and individual Indian trust lands (tribal lands), particularly in underserved communities, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. Broadband access is essential to the Nation's global competitiveness in the 21st century, driving job creation, promoting innovation, and expanding markets for American businesses. Broadband access also affords public safety agencies the opportunity for greater levels of effectiveness and interoperability. While broadband infrastructure has been deployed in a vast majority of communities across the country, today too many areas still lack adequate access to this crucial resource. For these areas, decisions on access to Federal property and rights of way can be essential to the deployment of both wired and wireless broadband infrastructure. The Federal Government controls nearly 30 percent of all land in the United States, owns thousands of buildings, and provides substantial funding for State and local transportation infrastructure, creating significant opportunities for executive departments and agencies (agencies) to help expand broadband infrastructure.

Sec. 2. Broadband Deployment on Federal Property Working Group. (a) In order to ensure a coordinated and consistent approach in implementing agency procedures, requirements, and policies related to access to Federal lands, buildings, and rights of way, federally assisted highways, and tribal lands to advance broadband deployment, there is established a Broadband Deployment on Federal Property Working Group (Working Group), to be co-chaired by representatives designated by the Administrator of General Services and the Secretary of Homeland Security (Co-Chairs) from their respective agencies, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (Director) and in coordination with the Chief Performance Officer (CPO).

(b) The Working Group shall be composed of:

(i) a representative from each of the following agencies, and the Co-Chairs, all of which have significant ownership of, or responsibility for managing, Federal lands, buildings, and rights of way, federally assisted highways, and tribal lands (Broadband Member Agencies):

(1) the Department of Defense;

(2) the Department of the Interior;

(3) the Department of Agriculture;

(4) the Department of Commerce;

(5) the Department of Transportation;

(6) the Department of Veterans Affairs; and

(7) the United States Postal Service;

(ii) a representative from each of the following agencies or offices, to provide advice and assistance:

(1) the Federal Communications Commission;

(2) the Council on Environmental Quality;

(3) the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; and

(4) the National Security Staff; and

(iii) representatives from such other agencies or offices as the Co-Chairs may invite to participate.

(c) Within 1 year of the date of this order, the Working Group shall report to the Steering Committee on Federal Infrastructure Permitting and Review Process Improvement, established pursuant to Executive Order 13604 of March 22, 2012 (Improving Performance of Federal Permitting and Review of Infrastructure Projects), on the progress that has been made in implementing the actions mandated by sections 3 through 5 of this order.

Sec. 3. Coordinating Consistent and Efficient Federal Broadband Procedures, Requirements, and Policies. (a) Each Broadband Member Agency, following coordination with other Broadband Member Agencies and interested non-member agencies, shall:

(i) develop and implement a strategy to facilitate the timely and efficient deployment of broadband facilities on Federal lands, buildings, and rights of way, federally assisted highways, and tribal lands, that:

(1) ensures a consistent approach across the Federal Government that facilitates broadband deployment processes and decisions, including by: avoiding duplicative reviews; coordinating review processes; providing clear notice of all application and other requirements; ensuring consistent interpretation and application of all procedures, requirements, and policies; supporting decisions on deployment of broadband service to those living on tribal lands consistent with existing statutes, treaties, and trust responsibilities; and ensuring the public availability of current information on these matters;

(2) where beneficial and appropriate, includes procedures for coordination with State, local, and tribal governments, and other appropriate entities;

(3) is coordinated with appropriate external stakeholders, as determined by each Broadband Member Agency, prior to implementation; and

(4) is provided to the Co-Chairs within 180 days of the date of this order; and

(ii) provide comprehensive and current information on accessing Federal lands, buildings, and rights of way, federally assisted highways, and tribal lands for the deployment of broadband facilities, and develop strategies to increase the usefulness and accessibility of this information, including ensuring such information is available online and in a format that is compatible with appropriate Government websites, such as the Federal Infrastructure Projects Dashboard created pursuant to my memorandum of August 31, 2011 (Speeding Infrastructure Development Through More Efficient and Effective Permitting and Environmental Review).

(b) The activities conducted pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, particularly with respect to the establishment of timelines for permitting and review processes, shall be consistent with Executive Order 13604 and with the Federal Plan and Agency Plans to be developed pursuant to that order.

(c) The Co-Chairs, in consultation with the Director and in coordination with the CPO, shall coordinate, review, and monitor the development and implementation of the strategies required by paragraph (a)(i) of this section.

(d) Broadband Member Agencies may limit the information made available pursuant to paragraph (a)(ii) of this section as appropriate to accommodate national security, public safety, and privacy concerns.

Sec. 4. Contracts, Applications, and Permits. (a) Section 6409 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-96) contains provisions addressing access to Federal property for the deployment of wireless broadband facilities, including requirements that the General Services Administration (GSA) develop application forms, master contracts, and fees for such access. The GSA shall consult with the Working Group in developing these application forms, master contracts, and fees.

(b) To the extent not already addressed by section 6409, each Broadband Member Agency with responsibility for managing Federal lands, buildings, or rights of way (as determined by the Co-Chairs) shall, in coordination with the Working Group and within 1 year of the date of this order, develop and use one or more templates for uniform contract, application, and permit terms to facilitate nongovernment entities' use of Federal property for the deployment of broadband facilities. The templates shall, where appropriate, allow for access by multiple broadband service providers and public safety entities. To ensure a consistent approach across the Federal Government and different broadband technologies, the templates shall, to the extent practicable and efficient, provide equal access to Federal property for the deployment of wireline and wireless facilities.

Sec. 5. Deployment of Conduit for Broadband Facilities in Conjunction with Federal or Federally Assisted Highway Construction. (a) The installation of underground fiber conduit along highway and roadway rights of way can improve traffic flow and safety through implementation of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and reduce the cost of future broadband deployment. Accordingly, within 1 year of the date of this order:

(i) the Department of Transportation, in consultation with the Working Group, shall review dig once requirements in its existing programs and implement a flexible set of best practices that can accommodate changes in broadband technology and minimize excavations consistent with competitive broadband deployment;

(ii) the Department of Transportation shall work with State and local governments to help them develop and implement best practices on such matters as establishing dig once requirements, effectively using private investment in State ITS infrastructure, determining fair market value for rights of way on federally assisted highways, and reestablishing any highway assets disturbed by installation;

(iii) the Department of the Interior and other Broadband Member Agencies with responsibility for federally owned highways and rights of way on tribal lands (as determined by the Co-Chairs) shall revise their procedures, requirements, and policies to include the use of dig once requirements and similar policies to encourage the deployment of broadband infrastructure in conjunction with Federal highway construction, as well as to provide for the reestablishment of any highway assets disturbed by installation;

(iv) the Department of Transportation, after outreach to relevant nonfederal stakeholders, shall review and, if necessary, revise its guidance to State departments of transportation on allowing for-profit or other entities to accommodate or construct, safely and securely maintain, and utilize broadband facilities on State and locally owned rights of way in order to reflect changes in broadband technologies and markets and to promote competitive broadband infrastructure deployment; and

(v) the Department of Transportation, in consultation with the Working Group and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, shall create an online platform that States and counties may use to aggregate and make publicly available their rights of way laws and joint occupancy guidelines and agreements.

(b) For the purposes of this section, the term "dig once requirements" means requirements designed to reduce the number and scale of repeated excavations for the installation and maintenance of broadband facilities in rights of way.

Sec. 6. General Provisions. (a) This order shall be implemented consistent with all applicable laws, treaties, and trust obligations, and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(b) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(c) Independent agencies are strongly encouraged to comply with this order.

(d) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.