Capitol Contact ALERT – Contact your Legislators NOW to oppose Broadband Services bill

January 25, 2017

Many VACo members have invested time, resources, and expense for the deployment of broadband to serve schools, businesses, and residential areas. HB 2108 (Byron), if passed, could halt these efforts and potentially bar future initiatives.

HB 2108 will be heard in the House Commerce and Labor Committee on Thursday afternoon 30 minutes after adjournment in House Room D.

The bill, backed by the Virginia Cable Telecommunications Association (VCTA), would impose an additional set of significant requirements (beyond those currently required by law) and burdensome limitations for a locality or municipal authority to bring broadband to unserved areas, particularly in rural parts of the state.

VACo Members – please call your legislators now to oppose HB 2108.

TALKING POINTS

  • HB 2108 states a locality shall not “… provide loans, or issue notes or bonds, or facilitate the construction of facilities, to provide communication services….” The core foundation of the municipal broadband authorities being created in Virginia is the ability to leverage public investment, including existing infrastructure, to provide coverage where it currently does not exist.
  • The Virginia Freedom of Information Act provides an exemption for a local governing body to hold discussions with commercial internet service providers for the creation of potential public-private partnerships to serve communities. The bill would require such discussions be open to the public. 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 legislators today to oppose HB 2108.

KEY CONTACTS

House Commerce and Labor Committee: Kilgore (Chairman), Byron (Vice Chair), Ware, Hugo, Marshall, D.W., Cline, Miller, Loupassi, Bell, Robert B., Habeeb, Villanueva, Farrell, O’Quinn, Yancey, Ransone, Ward, Tyler, Keam, Filler-Corn, Kory, Lindsey

VACo Contact: Joe Lerch, AICP

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