Broadband deployment on state highways

Rule requirements​ | Policy​ | Registration process​ | ​ Broadband coordinator​ | Wisconsin law


On December 3, 2021, the Federal​ Highway Administration (FHWA)​ implemented a new rule on broadband infrastructure deployment in the right-of-way (ROW) of applicable federal-aid highway projects. ​This rule only applies to WisDOT highway improvement projects on state trunk highways (STHs). The rule does not have any requirements for broadband projects on STHs that are not associated with WisDOT highway improvement projects​.

​The rule does not require state DOTs to install or allow the installation of broadband in highway ROW. WisDOT defines broadband as a utility per HMM 09-15-05​, 2.0 (#12) and ​has permitted it in STH ROW since the mid-90s. Therefore, WisDOT has chosen to implement the new rule.

The FHWA rule is not associated with the Public Service Commission's broadband grants program. For information on that program, go to the PSC's Broadband Grants page.

​Rule requirements and implementation

The FHWA rule establishes four new requirements of Title 47 U.S.C. 1504 Section 607. WisDOT must:

  1. Identify a broadband utility coordinator who is responsible for facilitating infrastructure ROW efforts in the state.
  2. Establish a registration process for broadband companies that are interested in placing infrastructure as part of the program.
  3. Notify broadband companies registered in #2 of the state highway improvement program on an annual basis and provide other notifications as necessary.
  4. Coordinate initiatives with other:
    > Statewide telecommunication and broadband plans
    > State and local transportation plans
    > Land use plans

All coordination should include strategies to minimize repeated excavations involving broadband infrastructure installation in the ROW​. The term "initiatives" means the event, occurrence, etc. when a WisDOT highway improvement project accommodates a broadband infrastructure project.


WisDOT's broadband deployment program policy is available at HMM 09-15-42​.

Registration process

If a broadband company is interested in receiving notifications as part of this program, it must sign-up via the listserv using the portal below. ​An initial email was sent to a list of broadband companies doing business in Wisconsin and obtained from the PSC Broadband Grants office. Even if a company was sent this initial email, it still must sign-up using the portal.​​


Broadband utility coordinator


WisDOT's broadband utility coordinator is:

​​​Kathy Jennings
Highway Maintenance Engineer
(608) 261-8976​

Office address​​:

Wisconsin DOT
Bureau of Highway Maintenance
4822 Madison Yards Way, 5th Floor South
Madison, WI 53705

​​​Associated Wisconsin law

Visit the links below for Wisconsin law associated with utilities and permitting on state right of way.