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Regulations. Supply constraints. Labor shortages. Weather. Disrupted commutes. Rights-of-way.

We get into all the fun stuff today when it comes to bringing broadband connectivity to neighborhoods and communities.

In yesterday’s article, I referenced the Biden-Harris administration’s 2020 presidential plan on bringing broadband “to every American”.

While that might be the killer line, there’s another passage that bears a lot of focus:

And to encourage those providers to invest in further extending service to rural communities and tribal areas, Biden will make available key federally-controlled telecom resources, like towers, poles, and rights-of-way.

Those “key federally-controlled telecom resources” are sometimes the key to moving a broadband construction project forward.

However, there’s a much bigger challenge in accomplishing this goal.

The biggest unknown


Weather is the biggest unknown in building or expanding a broadband network.

If it’s too cold, construction can’t even start until the ground thaws. If you live in a state like Minnesota, your construction season hasn’t even been announced (it’s March).

If it’s too hot, OSHA has specific rules in place to ensure the safety of personnel.

(Specific states have additional specific restrictions for both overly warm and cool weather.)

When weather impacts a construction schedule, it creates a cascading and damning impact not only to a single network provider.

It creates a ripple effect to construction companies. Instead of providing construction services around a 12-month calendar, those construction companies are now squeezing their crew into a shorter construction season, with more network providers clamoring for their services.

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This ripple effect then causes all sorts of chaos, including delays to the overall delivery schedule.

If these network providers are receiving grants to build broadband networks with strict deadlines (and other requirements) and their construction schedules fall behind, that’s a massive impact to the entire, Federal plan.

The reality

This will all get done.

While some states will have a more challenging time building their grant-funded broadband networks, the need for broadband connectivity is far too great to punish grant-funded companies for missing timelines.

The challenge comes in the form of costs. Broadband network costs seem to outweigh the overall costs by roughly 43%.

The Biden-Harris administration has allocated $20 billion to bring broadband internet “to every American”. If you accept there are 19 million Americans who do not have access to a broadband internet connection, and each connection-build costs on average of $1,500, the total costs to bring broadband internet “to every American” is $28.5 billion.

And that’s in today’s costs.

As the cost of borrowing money continues to increase, the $28.5 billion number will surely increase.

That doesn’t mean these projects should cease. It’s quite possible there are some fixed arial broadband connectivity options where the cost of broadband construction is far too great.

What’s next

Building broadband networks is a delicate balance between supplies, labor and natural events (weather).

And it’s a tricky subject, which is likely reflected in the number of sources noted below.

As these funds start to flow to network providers, new broadband customers will be the immediate winners.

And, as our economic, education and entertainment environments continue to change, the entire nation (and world) will begin to benefit from new users bringing their ideas online through a fast, reliable network.


Even though I’ve seen it up close and first-hand for much of my professional life, I’m continually fascinated by this intricate dance.

And we haven’t really addressed the customer yet.

It’s at the construction phase where customers begin to see, and feel, the impact of construction. Roads are torn up. Normal workflows need to be adjusted. Construction vehicles are littered everywhere.

It’s a scene.

Thank you

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