Charleston, WV— On the final day to take action, Governor Jim Justice approved Senate Bill 3. Along with 23 other bills, Senate bill 3 was signed and will take effect immediately. The bill, which will expand broadband internet services across the state of West Virginia established the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment act, which provides the public rights-of-way for small wireless facilities and future technologies.
Speaker of the House, Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, a champion of the bill, commended the Governor both in a formal statement and on social media after the signing. He stated on his official Twitter page, “West Virginia leaders are working aggressively to open broadband opportunities across our state. With bills like Senate Bill 3, we are transforming West Virginia from a laggard to a leader in finding innovative ways to encourage, invest in and develop leading edge technologies to benefit all.”
Ultimately, the impact of this bill could be an economic game changer for the state. The measure will help reduce costs in rural areas and shall aid in revolutionizing the telecommunications industry as this technology takes West Virginia one step closer to the realization of 5G wireless which could increase capacity for in-state businesses, hospitals, educational institutions and residents.
Over the course of the legislative session, the legislation received tremendous bipartisan support from both Senate and House members, and from organizations like West Virginia for Broadband, and the West Virginia Broadband Council. Stakeholders have agreed that passage of this bill, is just the first step in a series of work which will be done to improve access.
Additionally, the bill provides jurisdiction for the West Virginia Public Service Commission over pole access and necessitates all electric utilities to study the establishment of broadband services on existing infrastructure in approved jurisdictions.