Legislation by Year

2020

HB 30/SB30 Item 114 – Budget Bill

Summary: $70 million was appropriated by the General Assembly for FY21-22 funding for the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI). A key new VATI requirement in budget language included: “investment from the private sector partner in the project prior to making any award from the fund at an appropriate level determined by the Department.”

HB831/SB794Utility Easements; location of broadband and other communications facilities.

Patron(s): Del. Foy; Sen. Lewis

Summary: If an electric utility chooses to enter into a joint-use agreement with a broadband provider for use of an easement already deemed apportionable, the broadband provider: must follow the electric easement (above ground if the electric is above ground), cannot install new poles, & can only locate facilities underground if there is existing conduit or they locate them no deeper than 24 inches via low-impact clean cutting.

HB1280 – Electric utilities; broadband capacity.

Patron(s): Del. O’Quinn

Summary: Authorizes an electric utility to lease to any third party that is a wholesaler and that is not a government-owned broadband authority, for the purposes of providing broadband connectivity. The leases may extend in length beyond the end of the pilot program under which the utility provides broadband capacity to nongovernmental Internet service providers in areas of the Commonwealth unserved by broadband.

HB554 – Zoning for wireless communication infrastructure.

Patron(s): Del. VanValkenburg

Summary: Authorizes a locality to disapprove an application submitted for an administrative review-eligible project or for any zoning approval required for a standard process project that proposes to locate a new structure, or to co-locate a wireless facility, in an area where all cable and public utility facilities are required to be placed underground by a date certain or encouraged to be undergrounded as part of a transportation improvement project or rezoning proceeding as set forth in objectives contained in a comprehensive plan, on grounds that an applicant has not given written notice to adjacent landowners at least 15 days before it applies to locate a new structure in the area.

HB1376/SB953

Patron(s): Del. Austin, Sen. Edwards

Summary: Provides that a board established under the Virginia Wireless Service Authority Act may contain either five or seven members, rather than five members as required under current law.

 

2019

HB2141 - Local services districts; broadband and telecommunications services.

Patron(s): Del. Thomas

Summary: Authorizes a local governing body, with respect to a service district, to construct, maintain, and operate such facilities and equipment as may be necessary or desirable to provide broadband and telecommunications services.

HB 2691 - Electric utilities; provision of broadband services to unserved areas.

Patron(s): Del. O'Quinn

Summary: Requires the State Corporation Commission to establish pilot programs under which Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power may submit a petition to provide or make available broadband capacity to nongovernmental Internet service providers in areas of the Commonwealth that are unserved by broadband. The costs of Dominion Power and Appalachian Power's proposals are each capped at $60 million annually. The provision of such broadband capacity is declared to be in the public interest. The measure authorizes the utilities to recover the net costs of the pilot program from customers through a rate adjustment clause. The measure authorizes such utility to own or lease broadband capacity equipment. The measure requires the Commission to conduct proceedings to determine whether an area is unserved by broadband.

HB2541/SB1618 - Office of Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance; Broadband Advisory Council; expiration.

Patron(s): Del. Byron; Sen. Edwards

Summary: Extends the expiration of the Office of Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance from July 1, 2019, to July 1, 2021. The bill also repeals the expiration of the Broadband Advisory Council, and alters and expands from 14 to 17 its total membership. 

 

2018

HB 640 - Comprehensive plan; broadband infrastructure.

Patron(s): Del. Boysko

Summary: Provides that a locality's comprehensive plan shall consider strategies to provide broadband infrastructure that is sufficient to meet the current and future needs of residents and businesses in the locality. To this end, local planning commissions may consult with and receive technical assistance from the Center for Innovative Technology, among other resources. Also, in the preparation of a comprehensive plan, broadband infrastructure shall be included among the matters that the local planning commission shall survey and study.

HB 999/SB991 - Office of Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance; Broadband Advisory Council; expiration.

Patron(s): Del. Byron; Sen. Edwards

Summary: Extends the expiration of the Office of Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance and the Broadband Advisory Council from July 1, 2018, to July 1, 2019.

HB 1583 - Commonwealth Broadband Chief Advisor.

Patron(s): Del. Byron

Summary: Establishes the position of Commonwealth Broadband Chief Advisor (Chief Advisor) within the Office of the Secretary of Commerce and Trade to serve as Virginia's single point of contact and integration for broadband issues, efforts, and initiatives and to increase the availability and affordability of broadband throughout all regions of the Commonwealth. The Chief Advisor shall be designated by the Secretary of Commerce and Trade, and staff for the Chief Advisor shall be provided by the Center for Innovative Technology and the Department of Housing and Community Development.

HJ 77 - Study; Center for Innovative Technology; feasibility of a statewide dig once policy; report.

Patron(s): Del. Boysko

Summary: Directs the Secretary of the Commerce and Trade to request the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) to study the feasibility of a statewide dig once policy, including the installation of conduits with bridge construction projects. In conducting its study, CIT shall examine the feasibility of a blanket policy for all nine of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) districts and shall consult various stakeholders, such as the Virginia Broadband Advisory Council, VDOT, telecommunication and cable providers, and utility providers.

2017

HB 2108 - Virginia Wireless Services Authority Act; rates and charges.
 

Patron(s): Kathy J. Byron (chief patron), Jennifer B. Boysko, Timothy D. Hugo, James A. "Jay" Leftwich


Summary: Provides that a wireless services authority may fix rates, fees, and charges for services provided, or facilities owned, operated, or maintained by the authority, for which the authority has received loan funding. Currently, an authority may do so only if it has issued revenue bonds. A similar change authorizes rates to be set at levels to provide for payment of loans. The measure also requires each authority to maintain records demonstrating compliance with certain provisions and to make the records available for inspection and copying by the public pursuant to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.
 
SB 1282 - Wireless communications infrastructure; procedure for approved by localities.
 

Patron(s): Ryan T. McDougle (chief patron)

Summary: Provides a uniform procedure for the way in which small cell facilities on existing structures are approved by localities and approved and installed in public rights-of-way. The measure includes provisions that establish requirements applicable to the location of micro-wireless facilities. The measure also addresses restrictions by localities and the Department of Transportation regarding the use of public rights-of-way or easements and specifies when a permittee may be required to relocate wireless support structures.

2016

HB 912 - Transportation, Department of; installation of broadband conduit on public highways.

Patron(s): J. Randall Minchew (chief patron), Lamont Bagby (chief co-patron), Terry G. Kilgore (chief co-patron), Ronald A. Villanueva (chief co-patron), Hyland F. "Buddy" Fowler, Jr.

Summary:  Allows the Department of Transportation to permit broadband service providers to install conduit capable of housing fiber optic cable to provide broadband service on public highways.

2015

HB2207- Broadband Advisory Council; increases membership.

Patron(s): Del. Margaret Ransone with support from co-patrons Del. Kathy Byron, and Del. Steve Landes

Summary: Changes the membership of the Broadband Advisory Council (the Council) by (i) removing three nonlegislative citizen members: one citizen representative from the Virginia Telecommunications Industry Association and two at-large members and (ii) adding one member of the House of Delegates, one member of the Senate, one nonlegislative citizen member who is a representative of small Internet service providers, and the executive director of the Center for Rural Virginia as an ex officio member. The bill also directs the Division of Legislative Services to provide additional staff support to legislative members serving on the Council.

 

SB1377- State-owned communication towers; charges for use.

Patron(s): Sen. Emmett Hanger

Summary:  Department of General Services; state-owned communication towers; charges for use. Removes the requirement that the amount charged to lease use of a state-owned communication tower be commensurate with the amount paid for use of comparable space on similar towers.

2014

No broadband-related bills passed.

2013

No broadband-related bills passed.

2012

No broadband-related bills passed.

2011

HB2367/SB1368 - Telecommunications services; eliminates certain requirements.

Patron(s): Del. Hugo; Sen. Herring

Summary:  Eliminates certain requirements applicable to competitive telecommunications services. The requirement that competitive services be offered for sale under a filed tariff is eliminated. The State Corporation Commission shall permit, but may not mandate, the detariffing of any or all terms, conditions, or rates for retail telephone service not found prior to January 1, 2011, to be a basic local exchange telephone service.

SB787 - Wireless E-911 Services Board; changes name to E-911 Services Board.

Patron(s): Sen. Watkins

Summary: Changes the name of the Wireless E-911 Services Board to the E-911 Services Board.

SB788 - Wireless E-911 Fund; amends procedure by which Wireless E-911 Services Board distributes funds.

Patron(s): Sen.Watkins

Summary:  Wireless E-911 Fund; distributions.  Amends the procedure by which the Wireless E-911 Services Board distributes funds in the Wireless E-911 Fund. The measure requires the Board to recalculate the distribution percentage for each public safety answering point annually before the start of each fiscal year based on the cost and call load data from one or more of the previous fiscal years. Currently, the Board calculates the distribution formula each October based on the data from the prior year.

2010

HB672 – Virginia Infrastructure Project Loan Fund; created.

Patron(s): Joe May

Summary:  Creates the Virginia Infrastructure Project Loan Fund. The Fund would be administered by the Virginia Resources Authority. Money in the Fund would be used exclusively for the financing of landfill gas energy projects and sewerage system or wastewater treatment projects undertaken by a local government. The measure also specifies that a landfill gas energy project constitutes a “project” under the Virginia Resources Authority Act.

2009

HB2423/SB1336 – Establishing the Commonwealth Broadband Advisory Council.

Patron(s): Joe May and Phillip Puckett

Summary:  Establishes the Governor’s Broadband Advisory Council. The purpose of the Council shall be to advise the Governor on policy and funding priorities to expedite deployment and reduce the cost of broadband access in the Commonwealth. The council shall be staffed by the Office of Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance. Technical amendments to the bill adjust the membership of the Council.

HB 2665 – Broadband Infrastructure Loan Fund.

Patron(s): Joe May

Summary: Creates the Virginia Broadband Infrastructure Loan Fund. The Fund would be administered by the Virginia Resources Authority. Money in the Fund would be used exclusively for the financing of broadband infrastructure projects undertaken by a local government. Priority for loans would be given to projects that will utilize private industry in operating and maintaining the projects where private involvement will provide cost savings, to projects that serve two or more local governments, and to projects in unserved areas.

HB1885 – Telephone Regulatory alternaties; determination of competitiveness.

Patron(s): Sam Nixon

Summary:  Requires the State Corporation Commission, when determining whether the telephone services of a telephone company are competitive, to consider all wireless communications providers that offer voice communications services to be facilities-based competitors owning wireline network facilities and reasonably meeting the needs of consumers.  In making its determination, the Commission shall not exclude as a competitor any affiliate of the telephone company. The measure also requires the Commission, if it determines that 75 percent or more of residential households or businesses in a telephone company’s incumbent territory are in areas that are competitive for a telephone service, to expand, for that telephone service throughout the company’s incumbent territory, its competitive determination.  In such cases, the Commission is further required to apply the same regulatory treatment already adopted for that telephone service in competitive areas.  The same regulatory treatment shall be applied if a telephone company provides 90 percent or more of its residential and business lines access to fiber-optic or copper-based broadband service within an exchange area.

2008

HB1329/SB206 - Communication towers, state-owned; wireless broadband service in unserved areas.

Patron(s): Del. Peace; Sen. Stuart

Summary: Requires state agencies to lease or convey a license or other interest in a state-owned communication tower for which they are responsible to qualified providers of wireless broadband service in order to deploy broadband Internet service in areas of the Commonwealth that do not have access to terrestrial broadband or radio frequency Internet service. The requirement is subject to the provider presenting a spectrum and certified structural analysis of the tower and proof that the tower satisfies all applicable local government requirements. The conveyance shall require payment of such consideration as the Director of the Department of General Services deems appropriate and which is commensurate with the consideration paid for use of comparable space on similar towers. This bill is identical to SB 206.

HB 632 - Resources Authority; provisions of broadband services.

Patron(s): Del. May 

Summary: Clarifies that the Virginia Resources Authority may be used as a funding mechanism for all projects involving the provision of broadband services, and not just those utilizing wireless broadband technologies.

HB 1017 - Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance, Office of; established, report.

Patron(s): Del. Hugo

Summary: Codifies Executive Order 35 (2006) creating the Office of Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance under the Secretary of Technology. The goals of the Office are to encourage telework as a family-friendly, business-friendly public policy that promotes workplace efficiency and reduces strain on transportation infrastructure. In conjunction with efforts to promote telework, the Office shall work with public and private entities to develop widespread access to broadband services. The provisions of this act expire on July 1, 2018.