Broadband bill gets work-over

Broadband is just one of many bills being considered in the General Assembly that will have a direct impact on Louisa.

Broadband is just one of many bills being considered in the General Assembly that will have a direct impact on Louisa.

A slimmed-down version of a bill to restrict how localities such as Louisa can extend broadband internet service was scheduled for consideration Feb. 2 by a committee in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Unlike the original bill introduced by Del. Kathy Byron (Bedford County), which elicited howls of protest from public officials in Louisa and elsewhere, the substitute bill is not seen as a threat to local governments’ ability to provide broadband service.

But some who opposed the original bill are still concerned with language in the substitute that could represent a roadblock.

Louisa officials contend the reason the county formed a broadband authority and planned a system of towers to carry wireless signals was because large providers like Verizon had failed to provide affordable, high-speed internet to most of the county.

The current bill forbids a locality from pricing any of its broadband services for less than private competitors by not charging taxes and fees. The bill also prevents a public body, such as the Louisa County Broadband Authority, from holding a closed meeting to discuss its services.

To read the entire story, see the Feb. 2 edition of The Central Virginian.