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  • Writer's pictureGeeks Without Frontiers

DigOnce! A Fiber & Internet Initiative That Can Touch A Billion Lives

Geeks Without Frontiers has developed an open infrastructure initiative called DigOnce! a plan to accelerate the deployment of fiber optic networks. DigOnce! will speed the creation of gigabit villages around the world.

90% of fiber optic cost are related to digging the trenches for laying the fiber optic cabling. The vision of the DigOnce! initiative allows for the installation of empty fiber optic conduits (the plastic pipes that fiber is later “blown” or “pulled” through) as roads are expanded and built across the developing world.

If the decision is made to put fiber optic cabling into roads after they have been built or expanded, it is both enormously expensive and intensely pollutive. Additionally in some jurisdictions, an internet provider that is interested in cutting into brand new roads and highways, will be asked to take over the 10 or 15 year warranty on the road, provided by company hired to build the road.

DigOnce! from a policy point of view and a legal basis would require roadworks to lay conduits to pave the path for fiber optic cables for enhanced speed and bandwidth. The initiative is “green” since it advocates laying the conduits any time new roads are built or old ones are repaired. This will prevent future need to tear up the roads to lay fiber optic cables.” DigOnce! can also be expanded to those road digs that are necessary for the installation and expansion of water systems, sewer infrastructure, natural gas pipelines and other village and municipal utilities.

Large road projects funded by the European Union, the International Finance Corporation, the African Development, and the Asian Development Bank could require conduits to be installed during road construction or road expansion. The International Telecommunications Union’s Broadband Commission is now focused, from a policy point of view, on how to bring together concepts of broadband Internet with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

As part of GEEKS action plan, we are developing a White Paper on DigOnce!, as well as model DigOnce! legislation. This can be used in countries around the world to accelerate the achievements of Sustainable Development Goals. To follow-through and to ensure the success of these initiatives will require a tremendous amount of outreach and advocacy and continual education of the compelling benefits of DigOnce! The final take-away is that DigOnce! allows for rapidly developing low cost, high capacity green fiber telecoms infrastructure, which can positively touch a billion lives around the world in the next decade.

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