Common sense ideas can guide all agencies and programs to work together to build smart infrastructure. One of these ideas is to only “dig once," and the best time to build the smart infrastructure is when a construction crew is already on site. For instance, the Federal Highway Administration estimates that 90 percent of the cost of deploying broadband fiber in a public right of way is associated with digging up and repairing the road to install the buried fiber. The agencies should look for two-fers and three-fers—ways to update our electricity system, deploy broadband, and achieve other goals when spending the stimulus money.
This notion should be further expanded to “plan once” while coordinating the front-end mapping and data analysis for a host of new information infrastructure projects. By planning once and then digging once we would be installing everything at the same time to reduce the number of times that any given home is touched. What’s more, this process would coordinate broadband, smart metering, and energy-efficiency retrofit work at the community level.
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