Virginia Bill Seeks to Limit Municipal Authority
“Virginia Broadband Deployment Act” Would Limit Municipalities’ Ability to Connect Their Residents
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – The latest chapter in efforts by the big cable companies to limit broadband competition just began in Virginia. The introduction of HB 2108, the “Virginia Broadband Deployment Act,” by Delegate Kathy J. Byron (R-Forest) seeks to limit the power of municipalities to provide competition to entrenched incumbent Internet Service Providers.
HB 2108 imposes very specific requirements on local governments when they begin to solicit proposals for better Internet service, surprising local leaders that are desperate for more investment, not restrictions on investment. These burdens include soliciting proposals from existing incumbent providers, waiting six months for a response, and, if they even get this far, holding public hearings and a vote on whether to provide services within one year of the assessment. If these municipalities don’t comply with the timeline, they must obtain a costly new assessment.
“These communities are already disadvantaged because they lack access to high-quality, affordable Internet service. This legislation is designed to further burden them,” says Christopher Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “This bills seeks to further solidify the monopoly Virginia’s ISPs enjoy at the expense of Virginians.”
Some 20 states have limit on local authority to build networks and Virginia is alread one of them. This bill would further limit local Internet choice despite incredibly successful municipal networks across the state. See ILSR’s fact sheet on Virginia. See also the Friends of Municipal Broadband’s press conference today at 9:30AM Eastern.
About Christopher Mitchell:
Christopher Mitchell is the Diretor of the Community Broadband Networks initiative with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Mitchell leads the acclaimed MuniNetworks.org as part of ILSR’s effort to ensure broadband networks are directly accountable to the communities that depend upon them. He is a leading national expert on community networks, advising high-ranking broadband decision-makers and speaking on radio and television programs across the United States.