CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -
UPDATE 1/2819 5:55 P.,M.
The West Virginia House of Delegates voted 97-2 to pass broadband-expansion legilsature on Monday.
House Bill 2005, also known as the Broadband Expansion Act of 2019 bill allows broadband providers to install updated technologies on existing rights-of-way and utility poles, resulting in a saving of capital costs.
The bill now moves to the state Senate.
“Our people have been left behind and they deserve better,” said the bill's lead sponor, Del. Daniel Linville, R-Cabell. “This bill is opportunity. It’s an opportunity for our students to access the greatest library in the world – the internet. It’s an opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs to access the global markets. It’s an opportunity for our health care providers and residents to have access to and benefit from the latest health care technologies.”
Legislation aimed at expanding high-speed wireless and broadband internet development in West Virginia has advanced in the House of Delegates.
The House committee on technology and infrastructure approved the bill Wednesday and forwarded it to the House Judiciary Committee.
The bill would allow broadband providers to install updated technologies on existing rights-of-way and utility poles, resulting in a saving of capital costs.
It also would require power companies to study the feasibility of providing broadband technologies on their existing infrastructure. The state Public Service Commission would oversee the bill's provision.
To further reduce costs and encourage investment, the bill would establish a method of calculating the valuation of wireless technology for tax purposes.
The Federal Communications Commission said 82 percent of West Virginians have access to fixed broadband internet speeds.
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