Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 2.2. Administration of Government
Chapter 2. Governor's Secretaries
9/26/2021

§ 2.2-205.2. Commonwealth Broadband Chief Advisor.

A. The position of Commonwealth Broadband Chief Advisor (Chief Advisor) is hereby established within the office of the Secretary of Commerce and Trade.

1. The purpose of the Chief Advisor is to serve as Virginia's single point of contact and integration for broadband issues, efforts, and initiatives and to increase the availability and affordability of broadband throughout all regions of the Commonwealth.

2. The Chief Advisor shall be selected for his knowledge of, background in, and experience with information technology, broadband telecommunications, and economic development in a private, for-profit, or not-for-profit organization.

B. The Chief Advisor shall be designated by the Secretary of Commerce and Trade. Staff for the Chief Advisor shall be provided by the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) and the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). All agencies of the Commonwealth shall provide assistance to the Chief Advisor, upon request.

C. The Chief Advisor shall:

1. Integrate activities among different federal and state agencies and departments, and localities, and coordinate with Internet service providers in the Commonwealth;

2. Provide continual research into public grants and loans, in addition to private and nonprofit funding opportunities, available to provide incentives and help defray the costs of broadband infrastructure buildouts and upgrades;

3. Maintain broadband maps, the Integrated Broadband Planning and Analysis Toolbox, and other data to help decision makers understand where broadband needs exist and help develop strategies to address these needs;

4. Continually monitor and analyze broadband legislative and policy activities, as well as investments, in other nations, states, and localities to ensure that the Commonwealth remains competitive and up to date on best practices to address the Commonwealth's unique broadband needs, create efficiencies, target funding, and streamline operations;

5. Monitor the trends in the availability and deployment of and access to broadband communications services, which include, but are not limited to, high-speed data services and Internet access services of general application, throughout the Commonwealth and advancements in communications technology for deployment potential;

6. Research and evaluate emerging technologies to determine the most effective applications for these technologies and their benefits to the Commonwealth;

7. Monitor federal legislation and policy, in order to maximize the Commonwealth's effective use of and access to federal funding available for broadband development programs, including but not limited to the Connect America Fund program;

8. Coordinate with Virginia agencies and departments to target funding activities for the purpose of ensuring that Commonwealth funds are spent effectively to increase economic and social opportunities through widespread and affordable broadband deployment;

9. Coordinate with Virginia agencies and departments, including, but not limited to, DHCD, the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, and the Virginia Resources Authority, to review funding proposals and provide recommendations for Virginia grants and loans for the purpose of ensuring that Commonwealth funds are spent effectively on projects most likely to result in a solid return on investment for broadband deployment throughout the Commonwealth;

10. Serve as a central coordinating position and repository for any broadband-related projects and grants related to the mission herein, including, but not limited to, information from DHCD, the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, the CIT, the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board, and the Virginia Resources Authority;

11. Support the efforts of both public and private entities within the Commonwealth to enhance or facilitate the deployment of and access to competitively priced advanced electronic communications services and Internet access services of general application throughout the Commonwealth;

12. Specifically work toward establishing affordable, accessible broadband services to unserved areas of the Commonwealth and monitor advancements in communication that will facilitate this goal;

13. Advocate for and facilitate the development and deployment of applications, programs, and services, including but not limited to telework, telemedicine, and e-learning, that will bolster the usage of and demand for broadband level telecommunications;

14. Serve as a broadband information and applications clearinghouse for the Commonwealth and a coordination point for broadband-related services and programs in the Commonwealth;

15. After consultation with the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board, the Broadband Advisory Council, and the Joint Commission on Technology and Science, (i) develop a strategic plan that includes specific objectives, metrics, and benchmarks for developing and deploying broadband communications, including in rural areas, which minimize the risk to the Commonwealth's assets and encourage public-private partnerships, across the Commonwealth; such strategic plan and any changes thereto shall be submitted to the Governor, the Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations, the Chairman of the Joint Commission on Technology and Science, the Chairman of the Broadband Advisory Council, and the Chairman of the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board and (ii) present to these organizations annually on updates, changes, and progress made relative to this strategic plan, other relevant broadband activities in the Commonwealth, and suggestions to further the objectives of increased broadband development and deployment, including areas such as, but not limited to, the following: education, telehealth, economic development, and workforce development, as well as policies that may facilitate broadband deployment at the state and local level; and

16. Submit to the Governor and the General Assembly an annual report for publication as a report document as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents and reports on broadband development and deployment activities that shall include, but not be limited to, the following areas: education, telehealth, workforce development, and economic development in regard to (i) broadband deployment and program successes, (ii) obstacles to program and resource coordination, (iii) strategies for improving such programs and resources needed to help close the Commonwealth's rural digital divide, and (iv) progress made on the objectives detailed in the strategic plan. The Chief Advisor shall submit to the Governor and the General Assembly an annual executive summary of the interim activity and work of the Chief Advisor no later than the first day of each regular session of the General Assembly. The executive summary shall be submitted for publication as a report document as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents and reports and shall be posted on the General Assembly's website.

D. The Chief Advisor may form such advisory panels and commissions as deemed necessary, convenient, or desirable to advise and assist in exercising the powers and performing the duties conferred by this section. Persons appointed to advisory committees shall be selected for their knowledge of, background in, or experience with information technology, broadband telecommunications, or economic development in a private, for-profit, or not-for-profit organization.

E. The disclosure requirements of Article 5 (§ 2.2-3113 et seq.) of the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act shall apply to members of the advisory committees.

2018, c. 766; 2020, c. 738.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.