On July 22, 2020 the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Electricity (OE), and the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) and Southwestern Power Administration (SWPA) announced the publication of the report, Fiber Optics Feasibility Assessment: Western Area Power Administration and Southwestern Power Administration. The report is part of a national strategy to identify and remove barriers to broadband access, particularly in rural areas, while leveraging public assets and resources to expand the Nation’s broadband infrastructure. The report follows the American Broadband Initiative’s (ABI) Milestones Report from February 2019 and ABI’s Progress Report, released in June 2020.

The DOE report assesses the feasibility of leasing WAPA’s and SWPA’s unlit fiber optic strands to their customers and potentially to broadband service providers. This effort supports the three core principles of the American Broadband Initiative: 1) that Government processes should be clear, transparent, and responsive to stakeholders; 2) that Federal assets should provide the greatest possible benefit to stakeholders and the public; and 3) that the Federal Government should be a good steward of taxpayer funds.

The Fiber Optics Feasibility Assessment report is available on OE’s web site at: /node/4505425