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Press Release: Despite Intense Opposition, Virginia Bill Still Seeks to Limit Municipal Broadband Authority
Date: January 25th, 2017
Update: Virginia Bill (Still) Seeks to Limit Municipal Authority
Delegate Byron's "Virginia Broadband Deployment Act" Harms Everyone But Cable Monopolies
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - The saga of limiting broadband competition in Virginia continues. Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced he would veto HB 2108 in its current form because the goal of connecting Virginians requires "encouraging competition, not stifling it." In response, Delegate Kathy J. Byron (R-Forest) introduced a substantially edited bill, which still attacks municipal broadband entities across the state.
HB 2108 imposes burdens on local governments when they begin to solicit proposals for better Internet service, directly harming localities that are desperate for more investment. The bill still gives an edge to private providers by ensuring municipal actors must share their trade secrets. It also opens up local governments to lawsuits for perceived service issues as well as limiting private investment in Internet connectivity. These restrictions functionally ensure that it is impossible for municipal networks to develop and offer competition to the cable monopolies.
"There is nothing about this bill that helps rural Virginia get better connected," says Christopher Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. "It is entirely about locking down rural markets for companies like AT&T that want to continue profiting from them while refusing to invest in modern connections. These communities are already disadvantaged because they lack access to high-quality, affordable Internet service."
Some 20 states have limit on local authority to build networks and Virginia is already one of them. This bill would further limit local Internet choice despite incredibly successful municipal networks across the state. See ILSR's fact sheet on Virginia's networks. Also, the local group; Friends of Municipal Broadband, is hosting a press conference today at 1:00 PM in Richmond, VA.
About Christopher Mitchell:
Christopher Mitchell is the Director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Mitchell leads the acclaimed MuniNetworks.org as part of ILSR's effort to ensure broadband networks are directly accountable to the communities that depend upon them. He is a leading national expert on community networks, advising high-ranking broadband decision-makers and speaking on radio and television programs across the United States.
FOR MORE INFORMATION and to schedule an interview with Christopher, call Nick Stumo-Langer at 612-844-1330 or email email@example.com.
CNN Shares Stories of Disconnected Rural Residents During Pandemic, Quotes Christopher Mitchell
Not only has the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic exposed our nation’s dire lack of medical equipment and protective gear, but it has also shone a light on the inadequacy of our rural broadband networks.
Press Release: FCC Efforts to Track Broadband Have Failed
MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. (April 24, 2020) - The Federal Communications Commission has concluded that broadband is being deployed “on a reasonable and timely basis” across America.
Christopher Mitchell Joins Broadband Breakfast Live Online
Christopher Mitchell, Director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, recently appeared on Broadband Breakfast Live Online on March 31 to discuss the impacts of the pandemic in the broadband sector. Along with Christopher, the panel discussion was joined by host Drew Clark, Editor and Publisher at Broadband Breakfast, Gigi Sohn from Benton Institute for Broadband and Society, and Ben Bawtree-Jobson, CEO of SiFi Networks. The panelists explained policies to support universal broadband access, shared issues with telehealth, and suggested short-term solutions to bridge the homework gap.
Orlando Sentinel Op-Ed: Big Wireless Providers’ Growth Limits Local Choice
Katie Kienbaum, Research Associate at ILSR, wrote an op-ed that the Orlando Sentinel published on March 5, 2020.
Christopher Mitchell Interviewed by Wisconsin Public Radio
On February 17, Christopher Mitchell spoke on Wisconsin Public Radio's "Central Time" about the need for broadband access in unserved areas and how communities have taken a different approach to increase reliable and affordable Internet access. The discussion also touches on funding program, which is an important factor for local providers to expand broadband infrastructure in rural areas.
Christopher Mitchell Discusses Rural Networks and Huawei Concerns on Marketplace Tech
Christopher Mitchell, Director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, recently appeared on Marketplace Tech to discuss security concerns around Chinese equipment used in many rural broadband networks.