Governor Doug Ducey today signed legislation aimed at expanding broadband access in Arizona, advancing a commitment outlined earlier this year in his State of the State address.
“Arizona is growing and people are moving here at a record pace — and we need to ensure all parts of our booming state are connected,” said Governor Ducey. “In my January State of the State address, I called to continue expanding access to broadband. House Bill 2596 does that, and it will help Arizonans living in rural and tribal areas gain access to fast, affordable and reliable internet. My thanks goes to Representative Regina Cobb for sponsoring legislation that benefits people in every corner of our growing state.”
House Bill 2596 allows private broadband providers to install, operate and maintain telecommunications equipment within the Arizona Department of Transportation’s (ADOT) rights-of-way. It also allows ADOT to grant access to its own broadband conduit to private telecommunications companies in a non-exclusive and non-discriminatory manner — reducing the cost of installing rural broadband infrastructure
“Connectivity is key, especially as more people work from home and rely on quality broadband,” said Representative Cobb. “Arizonans in all areas, including rural, depend on high-speed internet for education, work, medical needs, transportation, public safety and so much more. I was proud to take the lead on House Bill 2596 to allow private entities to install broadband conduit and fiber optic cable in more areas of the state. Thank you, Governor Ducey, for signing a bill that will positively impact so many Arizonans.”
Additionally, the legislation creates the “Smart Highway Trust Fund” to deposit leasing revenues generated from the use of ADOT rights-of-way, which are to be used for operation and maintenance of telecommunications facilities within ADOT’s rights-of-way.
“We are excited to be part of this partnership to close the broadband gap and meet the needs of Arizonans,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski.