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Small Cell Bill advances in the W.Va. House of Delegates

Press Release from WV For Broadband:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — As the legislative session winds down in Charleston, the West Virginia House of Delegates took action which would further broadband expansions across the state.

On Monday, the House Committee on Technology and Infrastructure heard testimonial on Senate Bill 3 which as amended would create the West Virginia Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act. The measure passed unanimously and was under consideration in the House Judiciary Committee late Wednesday evening. The bill quickly passed out of the committee on a voice vote and is headed for further discussion on the House floor and pending final passage.

The bill is another step which will aid in the deployment of reliable small wireless facilities and expand the broadband network in-state, including reducing costs in rural areas. Ultimately, the legislative measure could help revolutionize the telecommunications industry as this technology takes West Virginia one step closer to the realization of next-generation 5G wireless which will be a game changer for businesses, hospitals, educational institutions and individuals.

The bill establishes the regulatory authority for the installation, operations, marketing, modifications, maintenance, or replacement of utility poles. It also establishes fees for small cell deployment by wireless providers.

Accordingly, the bill provides for a special method of valuation of certain wireless technology for property taxes and provides for tax relief to businesses who invest in regions of the state who have been previously underserved. Specifically, the bill allows for new tower construction to be valued at salvage valuation for five years following construction.

Delegate Sammi Brown, D-Jefferson, reacted to the committee passage, “It has always been my belief that if we are going to grow economic opportunity in West Virginia that we have to provide the digital infrastructure necessary. Broadband expansion is going to allow for people to find employment, to grow their businesses, to further their education, and together all of these, work together to create a bigger, better state.”

Assistant Majority Leader, Kayla Kessinger, R-Kanawha, also expressed her excitement about the bill by stating, “The WV Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act is a great piece of legislation that will benefit our communities, cities, and businesses all across the state. For West Virginia to continue its path growth, steps need to be taken to enhance broadband infrastructure so we can remain connected with the rest of the country and the world.”

The bill has received support from both Senate and House members, including Speaker of the House, Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, and from organizations like West Virginia for Broadband, and the West Virginia Broadband Council.

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