This report analyzes the legal, institutional, and economic feasibility of a possible solution for hardening the emerging U.S. fiber-optics communications "backbone" against the physical and electronic threats associated with nuclear explosions at no out-of-pocket cost to the government. The proposed solution would exchange access to interstate highway right-of-way, which telephone companies are currently prohibited from using but which is quite attractive to them from the perspective of installation cost savings, for the hardening of fiber-optics systems using such right-of-way.
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