The House of Delegates is scheduled to take a final vote tomorrow on a bill that, if passed, could halt efforts by localities to deploy broadband to serve schools, businesses, and residential areas.
HB 2108 (Byron) was amended twice in committee before narrowly passing on a vote of 11 to 9 late last week. While many elements from the original bill were struck, the current proposal still seeks to remove FOIA exemptions that are in direct conflict with existing law for establishing public-private partnerships. Such exemptions were adopted by the legislature to give localities the ability to partner with private sector providers in service provisioning. Without them, trade secrets and intellectual property will be open to the public and competitors. This will effectively limit the willingness of private internet service providers to explore and potentially partner successfully with localities to provide broadband.
VACo Members – please call your legislators now to oppose HB 2108.
- The bill removes reasonable FOIA exemptions available to local authorities established to deploy broadband services. These exemptions are necessary to negotiate contracts with private sector broadband providers and when recruiting businesses and responding confidentially to their broadband requirements.
- This change in policy will effectively limit the willingness of private internet service providers to explore and potentially partner successfully with localities to provide broadband.
VACo Members – Share your thoughts on FlagPoll.
Please call your Delegates today to oppose HB 2108.
VACo Contact: Joe Lerch, AICP