On March 27, Governor Justice signed SB3 into law. This bill, also known as the “West Virginia Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act,” encourages development and expansion of the latest-generation broadband internet and high-speed wireless technologies across the state. It will make it easier and more cost-effective to deploy broadband infrastructure in underserved parts of our state.

By Del. Ruth Rowan
On March 27, Governor Justice signed SB3 into law. This bill, also known as the “West Virginia Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act,” encourages development and expansion of the latest-generation broadband internet and high-speed wireless technologies across the state. It will make it easier and more cost-effective to deploy broadband infrastructure in underserved parts of our state.
          Among the provisions in this bill is the requirement for the Public Service Commission to oversee a study on the feasibility of electric utilities providing broadband technologies on their existing distribution and transmission infrastructure. It will allow broadband providers to use existing right-of-ways and utility poles to place next generation wireless and broadband technologies. This will make it easier for them to use existing infrastructure to deploy technology.  This should dramatically cut capital costs. 
           This bill also creates the “Wireless Technology Business Property Valuation Act.”  With this act there will be a special method of evaluating new broadband and wireless infrastructure for property tax purposes. All of these changes were designed to encourage the development of building and expanding broadband networks in our state.
           At the national level our senators also have been working hard to improve the quality of broadband in our state. Senator Shelley Moore Capito and Senator Joe Manchin have introduced legislation that will include customer response data as well as local and state government data to be included when mapping areas that have good broadband service and areas that are desperately in need of improvement.
           In this day and age it is vitally important to have the best possible internet service available. From telemedicine, to classes on line, to businesses—small and large, to home computers and grandparents connecting with their grandchildren in other states, internet service is a tremendous part of our lives. With actions being taken at our national and state levels, collaborative efforts have been made to improve West Virginia’s broadband service and move our state forward.