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Introduced Version Senate Concurrent Resolution 78 History

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SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 78

(By Senators Snyder and Williams)

 

 

 

Requesting the Joint Committee on Government and Finance study the merits of authorizing the Public Service Commission to oversee Internet service providers as public utilities; to establish, prescribe and enforce rates and fees for providers of high-speed Internet services; and to regulate the quality, reliability and availability of Internet services throughout the state.

    Whereas, Innovation and rapidly developing technologies are leading to increasing use of interactive content and audio and video streaming that require higher network bandwidth than is available through the telephone dial-up Internet access method; and    Whereas, The availability of affordable, reliable, high-quality Internet network access is an important factor in the development of a competitive workforce, a dynamic business environment, educational achievement and the economic health of residential communities; and

    Whereas, The use of Internet services has expanded rapidly in the past twenty years and is highly likely to continue to expand to such extent as to make a commodity of access to Internet services; and

    Whereas, In many areas of this state there is very little effective competition to encourage and stimulate price competition among Internet service providers; and

    Whereas, Rates for Internet service providers vary widely from state to state and consumers in adjoining states have been able to pay lower rates for similar services than consumers in West Virginia in comparable geographic circumstances; and

    Whereas, There is currently no state regulation or oversight of Internet service providers in this state; and

    Whereas, It is in the public interest to provide a forum for customers of Internet service providers to comment on rate structures and rate proposals, and to submit grievances regarding the provision of Internet network services and dealings with service providers; therefore, be it

    Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance is hereby requested to study the merits of authorizing the Public Service Commission to oversee Internet service providers as public utilities; to establish, prescribe and enforce rates and fees for providers of high-speed Internet services; and to regulate the quality, reliability and availability of Internet services throughout the state; and, be it

    Further Resolved, That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance report to the regular session of the Legislature, 2014, on its findings, conclusions and recommendations, together with drafts of any legislation necessary to effectuate its recommendations; and, be it

    Further Resolved, That the expenses necessary to conduct this study, to prepare a report and to draft necessary legislation be paid from legislative appropriations to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.

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