Middle-Mile Infrastructure Development Will Expand Internet Connectivity

Dec 7, 2021 3:00 PM ET

Few people think about the journey their data takes to and from their devices. But the potential pathways for data—i.e., available broadband infrastructure—play a large role in deciding who has access to internet connectivity and who doesn’t. In some cases, communities lack the ability to connect to the internet at all. Others lack high-speed internet, while some are limited by affordability or service monopolies.

According to Steve Truebner, sales director in Black & Veatch’s telecom business, state governments seeking to overcome these barriers to access should follow the lead of states like California, who are developing open-access middle-mile broadband infrastructure. In a recent article published by the Meeting of the Minds, Truebner discusses why middle-mile infrastructure is important, the early adopters leading the way, and how states can fund their broadband development projects.

Middle-mile broadband infrastructure carries data from a global internet station to an internet service provider (ISP) near you. The open-access structure allows states to ensure that ISPs have low-cost, non-discriminatory access to middle-mile networks. Such access will incentivize more ISPs to build last-mile infrastructure to the communities that need it, providing internet connectivity to more Americans while increasing competition among local ISPs.

“As society grows increasingly dependent on the internet for day-to-day activities, it is imperative that all people have access to ensure equal opportunity for employment, learning and human connection,” writes Truebner. “By building out middle mile infrastructure, states will have rights to a highly valuable fiber long-term asset that will foster an increase in both ISP market competition and performance, ensuring the consumer stands as the ultimate beneficiary.”