Wired Broadband Facilities on State Highway Right of Way

California Governor’s Executive Order S-23-06 (PDF) Twenty-First Century Government directed the establishment of the California Broadband Task Force, of which the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is a member, to bring together public and private stakeholders to better facilitate broadband installation, identify opportunities for increased broadband adoption, and enable access to and deployment of new advanced communication technologies.

California Assembly Bill 1549 (Wood, Chapter 505, Statutes of 2016) requires that Caltrans, during the planning phase of specified Caltrans-led highway construction projects, notify broadband deployment companies and organizations on its Internet Web site of transportation projects that involve construction methods suitable for the installation of broadband. Upon notification from Caltrans, companies or organizations working on broadband deployment may collaborate with Caltrans to install a broadband conduit as part of a project. The bill also requires Caltrans, in consultation with Broadband Stakeholders, to develop guidelines to facilitate the installation of broadband conduit on State highway right-of-way on or before January 1, 2018.

California Governor’s Executive Order N-73-20 aims to improve digital connectivity across the state through the establishment of a State Broadband Action Plan. The California State “Broadband for All” Action Plan calls for the implementation of a Dig Smart policy to install conduit as part of any appropriate and feasible state-funded transportation project in strategic corridors, as an incentive for service buildouts for un- and under-connected communities.  The Dig Smart policy presents an opportunity to lower the capital cost of infrastructure deployment, and minimize disruptions caused by ongoing or duplicative construction, both incentivizing and expediting new investment.

Caltrans supports the State “Broadband for All” Action Plan and its goals to provide all Californians affordable internet, training for digital literacy, and access to broadband at home, schools, libraries, and businesses, and  implements the Dig Smart policy on new wired broadband infrastructure projects installed within the State highway right-of-way.  The Dig Smart policy establishes requirements to 1) promote and provide opportunities for joint builds of broadband infrastructure by allowing multiple broadband providers to utilize the same installation opportunity in broadband permit or state-funded transportation projects and 2) enforce a process to minimize disruptions to road users caused by ongoing or duplicative construction.  The Dig Smart Policy is effective starting January 1, 2023 for new wired-broadband infrastructure projects.”


Broadband installations on the State Highway System require an Encroachment Permit.  Please see below for some helpful Caltrans Encroachment Permit links: