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2018-8-22

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Brunswick County Public Schools Two Hour Delay Thursday

Brunswick Academy Two Hour Delay Thursday

Appamattox Regional Governor's School Closed Thursday

If your destination is not listed here, please call ahead and ensure that they are open.

This list updated from WRIC, WWBT and WTVR Wednesday at 21:45

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING FILES NEW BRIEF IN NET NEUTRALITY LAWSUIT

~ Herring joins 22 Attorneys General in urging DC Circuit to vacate and reverse FCC’s illegal rollback of net neutrality ~

RICHMOND (August 21, 2018) – Today, Attorney General Mark R. Herringfiled a new brief in the lawsuit to block the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) illegal rollback of net neutrality, urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to vacate and reverse the FCC’s order. Attorney General Herring is part of a coalition of 23 attorneys general that filed suit earlier this year.

“Having an open and fair internet is integral to economic, cultural and educational growth in the Commonwealth, by connecting Virginians to jobs, opportunities and experiences only accessible online,” said Attorney General Herring. “The FCC’s illegal rollback of net neutrality protections could open consumers up to internet providers who will take advantage of them, limit access to certain websites, slow down internet speeds, censor viewpoints they may not like, or even charge websites for priority access. These protections need to remain in place to make sure that ISPs provide fair services. I will continue to fight to keep the internet open for all Virginians.”

Attorney General Herring and his colleagues partnered with the County of Santa Clara, Santa Clara County Central Fire Protection District, and the California Public Utilities Commission in this brief. The non-government petitioners submitted a separate companion brief today and Attorney General Herring and the other attorneys general also joined the arguments made by the non-government petitioners in that brief.

Attorney General Herring’s brief focuses on two critical issues: first, that the FCC’s order is arbitrary and capricious, therefore putting consumers at risk of abusive practices by broadband providers, jeopardizing public safety, and more; and second, that the FCC’s order preempts state and local regulation of broadband service.

As Attorney General Herring’s brief states, “for more than fifteen years, the Federal Communications Commission has agreed that an open Internet free from blocking, throttling, or other interference by service providers is critical to ensure that all Americans have access to the advanced telecommunications services that have become essential for daily life. The recent Order represents a dramatic and unjustified departure from this long-standing commitment”.

The coalition of 23 attorneys general collectively represents over 165 million people – approximately 50 percent of the U.S. population – and includes the Attorneys General of New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

Virginia Rural Center’s Innovation in Broadband Roundtable Showcases Promising Solutions to the Challenge of Universal High-Speed Internet Access

Senator Emmett Hanger addresses participants at the Innovation in Broadband Roundtable in Prince George County, hosted by the Virginia Rural Center.

PRINCE GEORGE, Va., Nearly 150 state and local officials and business leaders convened in Prince George County on August 16 for an Innovation in Broadband Roundtable, sharing updates on the tangible successes and ongoing challenges faced by rural Virginians lacking increasingly vital high-speed internet access.

“Universal broadband is an economic necessity, it’s an educational necessity, it’s a moral necessity,” said panelist Evan Feinman, Executive Director of the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission and Chief Broadband Advisor to Governor Northam.

The event was hosted by the Virginia Rural Center and held at the Prince George Central Wellness Center, one of the first places in the largely rural county to have received broadband thanks to a promising fiber-optic cable deployment program piloted by the Prince George Electric Cooperative (PGEC).

“When you have the right partner, you can stop talking about broadband, and you can start doing it,” said Prince George County Administrator Percy Ashcraft, noting that the county has won 5 awards from state and national organizations for its broadband partnership with the PGEC.

Building on the success of its pilot broadband program providing 30 Mbps speeds, the PGEC formally announced the launch of R4uralband, a new gigabit high-speed internet service offering that will soon be available to its residential and commercial customers. Dubbed R4, which stands for Rural, Reliable, Revolutionary and Responsible, the service will be delivered over a system-wide fiber optic network that PGEC is building to eventually connect all distribution equipment on its grid.

“We are using the history of the electric coop to chart a new course for fiber broadband in Prince George County, today,” said Jeff Stoke, Deputy County Administrator for Prince George County.

And while local partnerships with cooperatives have proven highly beneficial in certain rural communities where they exist, it will take a more holistic approach to fully solve the rural broadband issue according to Feinman.

“Ultimately the solution to universal broadband access is going to be patchwork – some folks will get fiber or coax service from the incumbent telecommunications company, some will get it from their electric coop, some will get it from their telephone coop, some will get it wirelessly,” Feinman explained.  “We’re going to engage all of those different efforts.”

Feinman explained that Virginia has some catching up to do around broadband initiatives, especially with respect to “last-mile” efforts.

“That said, Virginia is going to be one of the first states in the union, if not the first state in the union, to get broadband functionally to everybody,” said Feinman. “Governor Northam has said that we need to get him a plan to get it to everybody within 10 years. You’re going to see the first iteration of that plan in January.”

But the middle-mile remains critical, according to Tad Deriso, President and CEO of the Mid‐Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation (MBC), which has 45 wholesale customers ranging from the largest cable companies in the state to the smallest internet service providers (ISPs).

“If you don’t have that wholesale capability to reach the internet, to reduce that cost of access, then all of the last-mile efforts are really not going to work very well,” said Deriso.

Additional discussions during the roundtable explored other technical solutions and organizational resources seeking to drive broadband efforts forward.

Bob Bailey, Executive Director of the Southern Virginia Innovation Center, discussed the advantages and potential for TV white space – the empty spectrum between over-the-air TV channels – as a broadband solution.  Besides requiring very little infrastructure, Bailey explained how this solution does not require line-of-sight to antennas and that there is plenty of unlicensed spectrum available, especially in rural areas.

Chuck Kirby, Executive Director of the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT), also gave an update on the state’s Broadband Advisory Council role in advising the Governor on policy and funding priorities to speed the cost-effective deployment of broadband access in the Commonwealth.

Kirby also highlighted an upcoming Virginia Broadband Summit that the CIT is hosting in partnership with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s BroadbandUSA Program. The summit will take place in Roanoke on October 30, 2018.

Broadband will also be a featured topic of discussion at the Virginia Rural Center’s annual Virginia Rural Summit, taking place October 21-22, 2018 at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel in Staunton.

While challenges remain and there is much work to be done, momentum and resources are building behind the universal broadband access movement.

“This is a 10-year effort, but it’s not a moonshot. We already know how to do this, and we already have the resources to do this. This is a question of whether or not we have the political will to do it,” said Feinman. “I believe based on the folks in the room, we do, so let’s make it happen.”

“This is what revitalization is going to look like in rural Virginia,” added Delegate Emily Brewer, who represents the state’s 64th district.

The roundtable concluded with a presentation by John Tyler Community College President Edward "Ted" Raspiller, who stressed the critical role that broadband plays for colleges who are now challenged to provide a distance learning experience that matches the in-class experience.

Raspiller offered a live demonstration of the power of broadband when he established a videoconference connection with a former distance learning student who described the tremendous impact broadband had on her life.

Struggling to juggle jobs that weren’t the right fit with the responsibilities of raising a young child, the student wanted to go back to school but knew that attending class in person was not the answer.

But online classes, enabled by broadband, offered a solution.

“Distance learning was my answer,” she explained. “And it was because of that little internet connection, that I am what I am today – having earned my master’s degree, doing purposeful work, and living a lifestyle that is much more comfortable for my family.”

“Ask yourself, what can a single internet connection do for you, for a family, for a community?” the student challenged the audience in conclusion.

For more information, visit www.cfrv.org.

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