CHARLESTON, W.Va. – House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, today praised the signing of comprehensive legislation that will encourage development and expansion of the latest-generation broadband internet and high-speed wireless technologies across the state.
Gov. Jim Justice on Wednesday signed Senate Bill 3, which establishes the West Virginia Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act. The bill also contains additional high-speed internet expansion proposals passed earlier this year by the House of Delegates.
“For far too long, West Virginia has lagged behind in the development and installation of high-speed internet and wireless technologies,” Speaker Hanshaw said. “Broadband infrastructure today is as important to our economy and how we connect as a society as the interstate highway system was in the last century. For our business, education and health care climates to prosper, we must improve our state’s broadband infrastructure.”
Earlier this year, the House of Delegates passed House Bill 2005, the Broadband Expansion Act of 2019. The bill was designed to build upon legislation passed in 2017 and 2018 to promote broadband development and expansion in the state, and will make it easier and more cost-effective to deploy broadband infrastructure in underserved parts of the state.
Among its provisions, the bill:
Senate Bill 3, as passed by the Senate, included some provisions that were similar to House Bill 2005. The House of Delegates further amended the bill to include other provisions contained in House Bill 2005.
Speaker Hanshaw said this bill is part of a comprehensive, collaborative effort to dramatically improve West Virginia’s broadband infrastructure. Earlier this month, Gov. Jim Justice and U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., announced that Facebook was planning to build 275 miles of fiber optic cable across the state.
“From our congressional delegation down to the local level, West Virginia leaders are working aggressively to open up broadband opportunities across our state,” Speaker Hanshaw said. “We are transforming West Virginia from a laggard to leader in finding innovative ways to encourage, invest in and develop leading-edge broadband infrastructure technologies that will benefit all our citizens.”