LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Keep up push for broadband

To the editor:

Like over half the households in Louisa County, mine is served by Rappahannock Electrical Cooperative (REC). I’m concerned about REC’s commitment to helping citizens get access to affordable high-speed internet. 

On Jan. 14 The Central Virginian included an article about a suit filed by a Culpeper landowner to stop REC from using existing easements for the purpose of expanding broadband access. Then, on Feb. 4, the CV reported that REC had shelved plans for broadband access using easements because of the suit. 

When I looked at the Virginia law passed in 2020 to allow utilities to use easements for broadband (HB 831), here’s what I found: The measure provides that any utility may use an easement without such utility paying additional compensation to the owner or occupant, provided that no additional utility poles are installed. There is no mention of additional poles related to the Culpeper landowner who brought suit against REC. 

I question why Rappahannock shelved their efforts when the law so clearly states they were in the right? REC announced on Feb. 5 the appointment of Mark Ponton to the new position of director of broadband and fiber Services. I hope they are truly serious about tackling this problem for rural households. 

Juanita Jo Matkins

Yanceyville

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