On Monday, Governor Doug Ducey signed House Bill 2596, legislation aimed at expanding broadband access in Arizona. The bill allows private broadband providers to install, operate and maintain telecommunications equipment within the Arizona Department of Transportation’s (ADOT) rights-of-way.
“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 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
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.