Bill Aimed at Establishing Greater Broadband Access Fails in House Subcommittee

Winchester Star • February 9th, 2018

By Onofrio Castiglio

WINCHESTER — A bill aimed at establishing greater access to broadband in the commonwealth, filed by Del. Wendy Gooditis, D-Clarke County, was defeated along partisan lines in a House subcommittee last week.

The bill, HJ 106, would have required the state Broadband Advisory Council to develop a ratings system for communities indicating which parts of the commonwealth would yield the highest returns (in terms of households granted broadband access) on investment in broadband expansion.

After being referred to the House Committee on Rules, the bill was passed by indefinitely in a 4-to-3 vote along party lines.

“It’s dead,” Gooditis said on Thursday.

Broadband refers to the wide bandwidth data transmission necessary for high speed internet. Increasingly, access to broadband is cited as a fundamental advantage, if not a necessity, for individuals competing for jobs, education and other resources in the modern economy. Densely populated metropolitan areas are typically well served with broadband by private telecommunications companies, while sparsely populated rural areas are often left out because of the cost telecom companies face offering access in those regions.

Truman Braslaw