Delegate Roslyn Tyler, who serves as Vice-Chairperson of the Broadband Advisory and Chairperson of the House of Appropriation Compensation /Government Committee, sponsored House Bill 2304 that passed the House and the Senate with bipartisan support.
The purpose of HB 2304 is to allow electric utility companies such as Dominion Energy to provide high speed internet services to unserved communities and bridge the digital divide in the Commonwealth. Virginia ‘s invested owned utilities are already building broadband networks within their existing grids. This program will allow them to build more capacity than they need strictly for the grid and lease that capacity to ISPs to serve unserved Virginians.
This pilot project has been successful in serving other counties with over 538 miles of fiber optic deployment and over 11,100 home, businesses and community anchors connected with thousands more in the pipeline. The House Bill 2304 will become law when signed by Governor Ralph Northam prior to July 1, 2021.
Broadband expansion/High Speed internet has been one of Delegate Tyler’s priorities and the Covid-19 pandemic has proven the necessity of reliable internet services for education, businesses, agriculture and economic development. The House of Appropriation in the 2021-2022 budget included $100 million dollars for funding localities through competitive grants.