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Cross-Sector Infrastructure Sharing Toolkit

A guide for the stakeholders interested in cross-sector infrastructure sharing to facilitate broadband development

Cross-Sector Infrastructure Sharing Toolkit focuses exclusively on joint use of infrastructure by telecommunications network operators and owners of infrastructure developed primarily for purposes other than the provision of public telecommunications services.

This Toolkit is intended as a guide for infrastructure owners, broadband access network and wholesale telecommunications network operators, policymakers, lawmakers, regulators, international economic development institutions, and other stakeholders interested in harnessing the potential of cross-sector infrastructure sharing to facilitate broadband development. As Broadband Strategies Toolkit, particular emphasis is placed on providing a guide for stakeholders in developing countries.


Cross-sector infrastructure sharing broadly refers to the sharing of infrastructure – primarily real property fixed assets comprising land, improvements and fixtures – across different sectors of the economy. The opportunity for cross-sector infrastructure sharing to support public telecommunications networks is greatest with infrastructure owners in various network sectors. These may include owners of roadways, railways, water and sewer systems, electricity transmission and distribution systems, and petroleum and gas pipelines. In this Toolkit, the focus of the discussion of cross-sector infrastructure sharing is on building new broadband networks by leveraging existing infrastructure from other sectors. This will primarily involve the development of fiber optic networks and, to a lesser degree, wireless tower sites.

Cross-Sector Infrastructure Sharing Toolkit develops several themes, focusing on what, why and how first:

  • Module 1 briefly traces the origins and development of cross-sector infrastructure sharing and provides an overview of cross-sector infrastructure sharing today, in both cases providing some insight into what infrastructure has been shared, why the parties have chosen to share it, and how it has been shared. 
  • Module 2 discusses the financial and other motivations of broadband network operators, infrastructure owners, and lawmakers, policymakers and regulators. 
  • Module 3 describes some of the more common business models that have been employed in cross-sector infrastructure sharing.  

The Toolkit discusses the issues and challenges which may suppress the benefits of cross-sector infrastructure sharing in facilitating broadband development:

  • Module 4 identifies and discusses disincentives and impediments commonly encountered by infrastructure owners. 
  • Module 5 identifies and discusses disincentives and impediments commonly faced by telecommunications network operators.

The Toolkit also intends to assist market participants in selecting infrastructure sharing business models and strategies which help mitigate or overcome the issues and challenges:

  • Module 6 identifies and develops key approaches which may be adopted by lawmakers, policymakers and regulators to remove or reduce these disincentives and impediments. 
  • Module 7 identifies and discusses ways in which international economic development institutions may also help.

To supplement the general themes discussed in Module 1 through Module 7, the Toolkit also includes 18 separate case studies:

  • Module 8 discusses 15 different cross-sector infrastructure sharing businesses or projects covering a diverse range of geographies, infrastructure types, business models, commercial or regulatory challenges and solutions. Countries covered by these case studies include Estonia, Ghana, India, Japan, Kosovo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Poland, Portugal, Senegal, Spain, Tunisia, the United States, and Zambia.
  • Module 9 takes a more holistic look at the cross-sector infrastructure markets and regulatory frameworks in three countries, including Lithuania, South Africa and the United States.