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Policies, Laws and Agreements for the Use of Fiber Communications

Transportation agencies that utilize fiber optic infrastructure for telecommunications, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), and other applications may be in a position to leverage existing in-place infrastructure owned by other entities and/or share new agency-deployed infrastructure with other entities. In these cases, it is important for agencies to understand laws that govern the use and sharing of fiber-optics infrastructure or exchanging resources to gain access to fiber owned by other entities, and to develop internal policies that provide procedural guidance. Agencies may not have the staff, experience, processes, and/or agreements they need to enable sharing fiber infrastructure with another entity.

Some state and provincial transportation agencies have established policies that govern the use of fiber and that guide sharing arrangements. Resource availability and practices would be useful for ENTERPRISE agencies to learn from and model. 

The objective of this ENTERPRISE project “Policies, Laws, and Agreements for the Use of Fiber Communications” was to prepare a summary of resources (policies, laws, agreements) on the use of fiber communications of transportation agencies and to highlight practices for sharing fiber infrastructure.

To accomplish the project objective, policies on fiber communications, state and federal laws and/or FHWA rules that govern the use of fiber, and any agreements or partnership strategies used for sharing fiber optic infrastructure were collected and summarized. In addition, the project summarized practices for the use of these policies, laws, and agreements, especially for facilitating resource sharing. A survey was also distributed to transportation agencies to enhance the online search by collecting additional information on current sharing practices including existing policies and agreements.  The online research and survey were then used to select four agencies to contact to provide additional details on fiber sharing practices to document in the final report.

Sample fiber sharing agreements made available to the project are included in the table below.

Agreement Entities
Agreement Description
Iowa DOT and City
Iowa DOT granted city access to the DOT ITS network in exchange for  electrical service to cameras, sensors, and ITS equipment and the ability for the city to install cameras and ITS devices on the DOT ITS network.
Iowa DOT and Iowa Communications Network (ICN)
Agreement relating to the installation, use, and maintenance of fiber optic cable and communications services. Amendment 4 provided the ICN with installation design and project oversight for ITS project along interstate corridor and established maintenance responsibilities. Amendment 8 enabled the DOT to utilize ICN’s Fiber Management Software System to design, plan, and manage fiber optic network and related infrastructure.
Iowa DOT and FiberComm
Allowed Iowa DOT to install a fiber optic cable network for an ITS project while FiberComm maintains existing fiber optic network and provides technical support and public internet bandwidth to the Iowa DOT.
Virginia DOT and Telecom Provider or City
MOU template to govern the terms and conditions of sharing arrangements. Each agreement is negotiated for specific requirements, terms, and conditions.
Wisconsin DOT and Other Wisconsin State Department
In-state fiber resource sharing between WisDOT and the Wisconsin Department of Administration.
Wisconsin DOT and University
The University of Wisconsin - Madison leased WisDOT fiber that WisDOT obtained from a Telecom Provider.
Wisconsin DOT and Local Police Department
Local police department installed a CCTV camera and shared the video feed with the WisDOT State Traffic Operation Center.
Wisconsin DOT and Illinois Tollway
The Illinois tollway used existing private fiber for a camera and dynamic message board in Wisconsin and granted video feed access from the camera to the WisDOT State Traffic Operation Center.
Wisconsin DOT and Telecom Provider
Allowed WisDOT to swap fibers between a telecom provider facility and state-owned facility.
Wisconsin DOT and Telecom Provider
Telecom provider agreement template.
Wisconsin DOT and Telecom Provider
Enabled carrier to construct, operate, and maintain fiber optic communication facilities longitudinally within interstate right-of-way in exchange for dark fibers, conduit, handholes, and cash.
Wisconsin DOT and University and Telecom Provider
ROW agreement covering 15 counties that provided WisDOT with access to 12-strands of dark fiber on approximately 300 miles of the state highways.








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