State Attorney General Defends Rural Broadband Expansion Policies

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Attorney General Mark Herring has stepped in regarding a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of new broadband policies in Virginia, reported WCAV-TV. Herring intervened in the Grano v. Rappahannock Electric Cooperative case, defending rural broadband expansion in the state, especially amid the pandemic.

The new guidelines, which fall under House Bill 831, aim to make broadband expansion in rural areas easier by allowing utilities to make use of existing easements and infrastructure. The bill states: “The measure provides that any incumbent utility or communications provider may use a prescriptive easement to install, construct, provide, maintain, modify, lease, operate, repair, replace, or remove its communications equipment, system, or facilities.”

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced so many Virginians to move school, work, healthcare, and almost every other part of daily life online,” said Herring. “Transitioning to an almost exclusively online lifestyle has really highlighted just how critical rural broadband access is. This is why I’m fighting to defend this important policy in court because we need to make rural broadband access a top priority throughout the Commonwealth.”

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