Public Comments for 02/01/2021 Communications, Technology and Innovation
HB2214 - Broadband service territory maps; Commonwealth Broadband Chief Advisor to develop and maintain.
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, the Virginia Bankers Association supports this commonsense bill and appreciates the General Assembly's and Delegate O'Quinn’s continued efforts on broadband expansion. As our industry has seen reconfirmed over the last year, access to broadband is essential to delivering critical financial services to Virginians. Having these maps available will assist Virginia banks in determining where their customers are unable to reliably access online and mobile banking options, a delivery channel that continues to grow in its usage. That information will help in determining how best to deliver services, whether through in-branch services, drive-thrus, ATMs or encouraging telephone customer service where broadband capacity is lacking, or whether the bank can better leverage online technology for their customers. Likewise, as partners in community economic development, our bankers know potential project leads want to know the reach and capacity of broadband in the areas they are considering, making these maps an important component to facilitating a deal. The VBA supports efforts to provide complete coverage of broadband across Virginia, but until that occurs it is important to document and make public the coverage that currently exists. For those reasons, we support the bill and encourage its passage.