Revised broadband bill passes Senate; provision harmful to local authorities is struck

February 22, 2017

With removal of language that would have effectively halted public-private partnerships to deploy broadband to unserved and underserved areas, VACo no longer opposes HB 2108 (Byron). The bill passed the Senate and is now headed to the Governor for consideration.

At the request of Delegate Kathy Byron, language was struck that would have removed FOIA exemptions that are in direct conflict with existing law for establishing public-private partnerships. It is important that this provision be removed because 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 would effectively limit the willingness of private internet service providers to explore and potentially partner successfully with localities to provide broadband.

VACo Contact: Joe Lerch, AICP

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