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.


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.


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.