Public Comments for: HB249 - Virginia Telecommunications Initiative; eligibility.
Last Name: Mead Organization: City Council, City of Staunton, Virginia Locality: City of Staunton

HB1290 | Hayes | Public bodies; security of government databases and data communications. As a member of Staunton City Council I oppose this bill. Time Constraint: 24 hours is not enough time to properly assess the extent of the situation, formulate the best strategy, and speak with staff and other individuals affected.  Definitions: I have serious concerns about the lack of definition of “incident”. Without a definitive definition the term “incident” becomes extremely vague allowing for misinterpretation on what constitutes as an incident that must be reported. Secondly, there is no specific language on what needs to be reported. Once again allowing for misinterpretation of what must be reported.  Reporting: HB1290 requires the public body to report the incident to the State before having the opportunity to discuss the matter with the City's insurance company, provider, or agency of choice. This creates another reporting mandate for public bodies. Before The Virginia Information Technologies Agency, working with state and local stakeholders, should develop and publish guidance concerning the scope and implementation of the required incident reporting.

Last Name: Mendoza Locality: Arlington

Please support HB 249, which would have the Department of Housing and Community Development adopt U.S. Treasury guidelines for broadband infrastructure grants. Reliable, high-speed, and low cost Internet is as critical and fundamental to Virginians as is water, electricity, and good roads. Adopting US Treasury guidelines is important because: - using the U.S. Treasury guidelines would expand the number and type of localities (e.g. urban/suburban) that can apply for this once-in-a-lifetime federal investment; - the U.S. Treasury guidelines provide localities more discretion in determining need; - the digital divide is as much urban as it is rural (e.g. a study by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia found that nearly 40% of all students without broadband live in or around Virginia’s cities); - the U.S. Treasury guidelines emphasize giving funds to not-for-profit entities like broadband authorities, cooperatives, and non-profits that will prioritize service and community over profits; - the U.S. Treasury guidelines set a more robust standard for technology and speeds than VATI and urge the deployment of wireline connection directly to the premises using fiber optic cables, which are future proof compared to all other technologies. Having access to these Federal resources will make Virginia more competitive, attracting more high value knowledge workers. Having high quality digital infrastructure equally available across the Commonwealth will ensure all Virginians share in that prosperity, bringing high quality of life and opportunity to all Virginians

Last Name: Lilyquist Locality: Arlington

Please support HB 249, which would have the Department of Housing and Community Development adopt U.S. Treasury guidelines for broadband infrastructure grants. This is important because: - using the U.S. Treasury guidelines would expand the number and type of localities (e.g. urban/suburban) that can apply for this once-in-a-lifetime federal investment; - the U.S. Treasury guidelines provide localities more discretion in determining need; - the digital divide is as much urban as it is rural (e.g. a study by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia found that nearly 40% of all students without broadband live in or around Virginia’s cities); - the U.S. Treasury guidelines emphasize giving funds to not-for-profit entities like broadband authorities, cooperatives, and non-profits that will prioritize service and community over profits; - the U.S. Treasury guidelines set a more robust standard for technology and speeds than VATI and urge the deployment of wireline connection directly to the premises using fiber optic cables, which are future proof compared to all other technologies.

Last Name: Kissel Locality: Arlington

Please support HB 249 – VATI Broadband Grant Initiative to Include Urban Areas. The digital divide is both an urban and a rural issue. U.S. Treasury Final ARPA Rules recognize this, making residents in urban areas eligible to be beneficiaries of these funds. Those rules remove speed barriers as the determinant of where the funds are spent, and let fund recipients identify as eligible those areas where existing broadband service is unreliable, or unaffordable, or where there is not 100X100Mbps service. However, the current VATI program arbitrarily directs those funds (upwards of a billion dollars) solely to rural areas, by limiting eligible areas to those with less than 25/3 Mbps (or even less than 10/1Mbps). HB249 remedies this by opening eligibility of future VATI funds to all areas of the state, so urban areas can also begin removing their digital divide, and begin stimulating the level of modern, upstream broadband infrastructure that the U.S. Treasury recognizes our country desperately needs to compete in a post-COVID interactive economy.

Last Name: Forte Locality: Arlington

I support HB 249 so that Va's DHCD could allow more local flexibility in the use of federal broadband money.

Last Name: Westcott Organization: City of Chesapeake Locality: City of Chesapeake

The City of Chesapeake supports HB249 (Davis)

Last Name: Jones Organization: City of Portsmouth Locality: Portsmouth, VA

The importance and necessity of broadband in a post-Covid realm should never be considered a luxury but rather a utility vital to all citizens of the Commonwealth. Through federal and state grants, Virginia has been able to progress in closing the broadband gap; however, variations between Federal broadband funding and Commonwealth funding restrict the progress that could be achieved concerning broadband deployment. In as much, the city of Portsmouth supports this proposed legislation that enables all entities (Public & Private) to work in conjunction to achieve broadband for all Commonwealth citizens through amended language to concise with the Federal funding surrounding broadband funding.

Last Name: Bratt Locality: Arlington

The digital divide is both a rural and urban issue, so supporting HR 249 is vital for Virginia's future. Adopting the US Treasury guidelines for broadband infrastructure grants would allow the Department of Housing and Community Development to focus on better and greater internet access for all communities in Virginia. Using US Treasury guidelines would expand the kinds of communities able to apply and set a higher standard for technology and speeds than VATI. The US Treasury guidelines also encourage giving monies to not-for-profits like broadband authorities and cooperatives that prioritize community needs over profits.

Last Name: Bauer Locality: Arlington

Please support HB 249. The legacy telecom providers have proven that their own interests are not in providing high quality broadband service to all Virginians. Given that the U.S. Treasury guidelines emphasize giving funds to not-for-profit entities, it is time for localized broadband authorities, cooperatives, and non-profits to be given the opportunity to provide the desperately needed high quality broadband service to our communities.

Last Name: Ulmschneider Locality: Arlington

Please support HB 249. All community members need access to broadband, not just those who can afford it. Many schoolchildren could not reliably access their virtual classes during the pandemic. Access to the internet is a critical tool needed to support both children and adults in our community.

Last Name: Hufford Locality: Arlington

Please support HB249. We need to provide broadband service to as many people who need it as we can. Thank you.

Last Name: Knight Organization: Arlington Education Association - Retired Locality: Arlington

I write on behalf of several retired teacher colleagues in support of HB249, because it will direct the DHCD to adopt the U.S. Treasury's guidelines for using federal money for broadband infrastructure. Those guidelines emphasize giving funds to not-for-profit entities like broadband authorities, cooperatives, and non-profits that will prioritize service and community over profits. HB249 will allow urban areas to apply for that money to improve their own broadband environments. It will also provides localities with more discretion in determining need. The digital divide is urban and rural. A State Council of Higher Education for Virginia study found that nearly 40% of all students without broadband live in or around Virginia's cities. All students need access to broadband to learn effectively, especially in our current environment. Please pass HB249. Sincerely, Judith Knight

Last Name: Gavin Locality: Arlington

Hello Please support this change. There are too many residents of all areas in Virginia (myself included) who do not have access to reliable 100x100 internet due to poor service from legacy providers. Internet is a utility in 2022, and competitive service including participation from the public sector is needed to ensure quality access for all.

Last Name: Corum Locality: Arlington

Please support HB 249 – VATI Broadband Grant Initiative to Include Urban Areas. If the VATI guidelines today matched the U.S. Treasury Final ARPA Rules, residents in urban areas would be eligible to be beneficiaries of these funds. Those rules remove speed barriers as the determinant of where the funds are spent, and let fund recipients identify as eligible those areas where existing broadband service is unreliable, or unaffordable, or where there is not 100X100Mbps service. Instead, the VATI program has pinched off use of those funds (upwards of a billion dollars) to only rural areas, by limiting eligible areas as only those with less than 25/3 Mbps (or even less than 10/1Mbps). The digital divide is both an urban and a rural issue. HB249 would open eligibility of future VATI funds to all areas of the state, so urban areas can also begin removing their digital divide, and begin stimulating the level of modern, upstream broadband infrastructure that the U.S. Treasury recognizes our country now desperately needs to compete in a post-COVID interactive economy.

Last Name: Dempsey Organization: ArlFiber Locality: Arlington

Comments Document

Please support HB 249. The criteria currently used by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to make grants under the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) are too restrictive and have too low a technology and speed standard. If DHCD were to adopt the U.S. Treasury Department's guidelines for broadband infrastructure projects under its Final Rule on State & Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, it would greatly expand the number of potential applicants for the federal dollars currently pouring in for broadband enhancement; in particular urban and suburban localities. It is important for Virginia legislators to understand that there is as much an urban digital divide as there is a rural one. For instance, a study by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia found that nearly 40% of all students without broadband live in or around Virginia’s cities. In light of the fact that schools and universities will need to be able to pivot to online learning for an indefinite period of time to combat or prevent COVID-19 outbreaks, it is imperative that these localities receive support to bridge their local digital divides and make sure that all students have access to a reliable, high-speed connection at home to receive an education. In addition to allowing in urban and suburban applicants, adoption of the Treasury guidelines would give all applicants greater leeway in terms of defining and determining need, which would in turn improve their ability to undertake impactful projects. The current VATI guidelines handicap localities' ability to adequately and rationally scope projects because VATI imposes woefully low speed standards in terms of determining what areas are to be considered already "covered" (which seems more an effort to shield incumbent providers from competition, despite the fact that they are not getting the job done). Lastly, the U.S. Treasury guidelines include a much more robust technology standard (100x100 mbps, compared to VATI's outdated 25/3 mbps), which is the minimum for sufficiently supporting video conferencing by multiple users on a single/shared connection. Related to this, the Treasury guidelines encourage projects that involve wireline connections directly to the residence or premises using fiber optic cables. This is important because fiber is considered the gold standard in telecommunications. It is the only technology that is currently capable of symmetrical speeds (i.e. same speed up and down), which is vitally important for our video conference-heavy future, and is currently scalable up to 10 gigabit speeds (and is expected to reach far higher speeds well into the future). This is the best investment of public dollars, and hence should be an integral part of VATI criteria.

Last Name: Hoffman Locality: Arlington

Please support HB249 and align with the US Treasury rules for broadband infrastructure improvements. The simplified rules will provide more communities with the resources needed to provide broadband access to Virginians faster. Small businesses and school systems need reliable communication across Virginia. Thank you.

Last Name: Burrows Locality: Arlington

Please support HB 249, which would have the Department of Housing and Community Development adopt U.S. Treasury guidelines for broadband infrastructure grants. This is important because: - using the U.S. Treasury guidelines would expand the number and type of localities (e.g. urban/suburban) that can apply for this once-in-a-lifetime federal investment; - the U.S. Treasury guidelines provide localities more discretion in determining need; - the digital divide is as much urban as it is rural (e.g. a study by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia found that nearly 40% of all students without broadband live in or around Virginia’s cities);

Last Name: Whitaker Locality: Arlington

I kindly request Virginia adopt the U.S. Treasury guidelines for broadband infrastructure grants. The following are my reasons: - the U.S. Treasury guidelines would expand the number and type of localities (e.g. urban/suburban) that can apply for this federal investment; - U.S. Treasury guidelines provide localities more discretion in determining need; - the U.S. Treasury guidelines emphasize giving funds to not-for-profit entities like broadband authorities, cooperatives, and non-profits that will prioritize service and community over profits - the U.S. Treasury guidelines set a more robust standard for technology and speeds than VATI and urge the deployment of wireline connection directly to the premises using fiber optic cables, which are future proof compared to all other technologies.

Last Name: Siniscal Locality: Arlington

Please support HB 249, which would have the Department of Housing and Community Development adopt U.S. Treasury guidelines for broadband infrastructure grants. This is important because: - using the U.S. Treasury guidelines would expand the number and type of localities (e.g. urban/suburban) that can apply for this once-in-a-lifetime federal investment; - the U.S. Treasury guidelines provide localities more discretion in determining need; - the digital divide is as much urban as it is rural (e.g. a study by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia found that nearly 40% of all students without broadband live in or around Virginia’s cities); - the U.S. Treasury guidelines emphasize giving funds to not-for-profit entities like broadband authorities, cooperatives, and non-profits that will prioritize service and community over profits; - the U.S. Treasury guidelines set a more robust standard for technology and speeds than VATI and urge the deployment of wireline connection directly to the premises using fiber optic cables, which are future proof compared to all other technologies.

Last Name: Rice Organization: self (Chair of Alexandria's IT Commission) Locality: Alexandria

Please support HB 249 – VATI Broadband Grant Initiative to Include Urban Areas If the VATI guidelines today matched the U.S. Treasury Final ARPA Rules, residents in urban areas would be eligible to be beneficiaries of these funds. Those rules remove speed barriers as the determinant of where the funds are spent, and let fund recipients identify as eligible those areas where existing broadband service is unaffordable, or unreliable, or where there is not 100X100Mbps service. Instead, the VATI program has pinched off use of those funds (upwards of a billion dollars) to only rural areas, by limiting eligible areas as only those with less than 25/3 Mbps (or even less than 10/1Mbps). The digital divide is both an urban and a rural issue. HB249 would open eligibility of future VATI funds to all areas of the state, so urban areas can also begin removing their digital divide, and begin stimulating the level of modern, upstream broadband infrastructure that the U.S. Treasury Department recognizes our country now desperately needs to survive and compete in a post-COVID interactive economy.

Last Name: DeBerry Organization: Southside Network Authority Locality: Norfolk

Comments Document

The Southside Network Authority is a partnership between the Cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach. We hope that the General Assembly will enable the VATI program to help the SNA fulfill the goals that the U.S. Congress set for the use of the ARPA funds with the second tranche of funds that will become available next year.

End of Comments