Broadband installations are the leading cause of underground infrastructure damage in Minnesota, report finds

(UI) – The urgent push to connect underserved communities with high-speed internet is encountering safety concerns in Minnesota due to underground digging for broadband installation, according to Public News Service.

A report from North Star Policy Action revealed that broadband installations have become the leading cause of damage to underground infrastructure in the state over the past three years.

Telecommunications crews are frequently encountering electric lines and natural gas pipes underground, resulting in an average of more than 1.25 strikes per day. This level of damage raises significant safety concerns, according to Aaron Rosenthal, the research director for North Star Policy Action, who emphasized that Minnesotans should not have to compromise safety for internet access.

However, the full extent of damage remains unclear as the data is voluntarily provided. The report suggests that workers receive inadequate training, and there is a legislative effort underway to enhance standards and ensure fair wages for broadband installation workers.

Despite concerns about potential delays in broadband projects, researchers and labor leaders anticipate that the accelerated pace of installations will lead to more incidents.

Overall, while damage from utility excavation has trended downward according to a state agency, the researchers argue that reporting requirements are flawed, leaving the information incomplete.

This story was originally reported by Public News Service. 

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