Infrastructure co-deployment and sharing between sectors is an effective and proven strategy to expand
service coverage and reduce the aggregate costs of deployment. Co-deployment of fiber-optic cables or
mobile towers alongside linear infrastructure such as railways, roads, water, sewage systems, and power
transmission lines is a particularly pertinent approach to accelerate the rollout of digital connectivity
and help future-proof the infrastructure assets. However, in practice, suboptimal levels of infrastructure
co‑deployment and sharing exist because of various market, institutional, and regulatory barriers.
This Asian Development Bank (ADB) Sustainable Development Working Paper, as part of a series
reviewing essential topics related to digital infrastructure, details the tools to gauge the potential
benefits of co-deployment and sharing; highlights recent examples and good practices; and presents
recommendations for multilateral development banks to consider in their own infrastructure projects,
as well as in providing guidance and direction to governments and other institutions.
Co-deployment and sharing offer financiers and asset owners the ability to expand the commercial
viability of capital-intensive infrastructure investments. This paper discusses a wide range of potential
benefits of co-deployment and sharing. These include (i) reduction in overall deployment costs
(with savings for the public and private financiers), (ii) increased revenue potential, (iii) ability to
leverage digital infrastructure for internal connectivity needs, (iv) accelerated deployment timelines,
(v) improved resilience of infrastructure, (vi) reduction in disruptions (and the subsequent societal
impact), (vii) reduced overall environmental impacts, and (viii) potential for the expansion of services to
previous unserved and underserved geographies and communities.
Notwithstanding the wide-ranging benefits, infrastructure co-deployment and sharing presents risks
related to market contexts that need to be identified early on and mitigated through the project cycle.
There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach, and the legitimate concerns of key stakeholders, who are
requested to potentially cede direct control of conception, procurement, construction, operation, and
commercialization phases, need to be addressed head-on.
Success factors for the design of infrastructure co-deployment and sharing projects have included
(i) establishing cross-sector collaboration and communication; (ii) allocating dedicated project
management resources for coordination; (iii) developing a highly coordinated communication and
resolution plan to keep all stakeholders, customers, and the public on board; (iv) establishing a welldefined
incentive framework and strong governance structure; (v) ensuring a robust monitoring and
evaluation process; (vi) obtaining high-level buy-in through the drafting of tailored business strategy
documents and shared financial models; and (vii) building in the technical, operational, and commercial
considerations required for co-deployment and sharing to deliver the targeted benefits.
In the policy domain, it is important to recognize there is a range of co-deployment intervention
opportunities. Other important practices include (i) maintaining a shared geospatial inventory of
infrastructure; (ii) coordination across national, international, and cross-industry levels; (iii) ensuring
harmonization of sector regulations related to building standards and infrastructure co-deployment
and sharing across different sectors; (iv) encouraging competition; and (v) addressing the challenges in
locations where service provision is not commercially viable for the private sector.
Development finance institutions (DFIs), such as ADB, can further advance cross-sector co-deployment
in projects by continuing to share knowledge about co-deployment strategies, providing appropriate
technical assistance in the broader enabling environment as well as in project preparation, and by
internally incentivizing cross-sector infrastructure sharing through revised processes and procedures.
In the policy dimension, DFIs can encourage or incentivize governments to enhance information sharing
of opportunities for cross-sector infrastructure co-deployment and sharing, encourage more flexible
rules in the public sector, and carefully consider mandating action or introducing prescriptive regulation.