What: Q & A with legislators, public officials, business owners, and consumers
When: Thursday, January 21 at 6-7:30 p.m.
Where: Register to participate on Zoom at this link: https://tinyurl.com/easternshoreinternet
Accomac, Va. — Virginia Organizing’s Eastern Shore Chapter will hold a townhall meeting via Zoom on January 21 at 6 p.m. so that residents and business owners can ask questions of public officials about how they can receive better broadband services on the Shore. Participants have been registering and submitting questions since the event was announced.
“I have a 16 year old daughter trying to get through her junior year in high school doing it remotely,” said David Boyd of Cape Charles. “Sometimes she can’t do her work online. I live in a neighborhood (Tower Hill) right next to 13 and the entrance to Cape Charles, but the best internet option I have right now is Verizon DSL – the same service and same speed (3-7 Mbps max) I had when I moved here in 2007. Supposedly, the Board of Supervisors in Northampton County supplied funding and incentives to several providers to expand broadband in Northampton County and supposedly there are federal and state incentives since the beginning of the COVID mess to help rural areas get broadband. Elon Musk and SpaceX are probably more likely to get me decent internet.”
Al McKegg has also been frustrated by the slow development of broadband. “ESVBA is presently unable to access state funds for expansion (called VATI funds) unless the private sector is involved in the planned project. Senator Lewis and Delegate Bloxom tried to get this policy changed (note: it’s not a law, but a policy promulgated by the Virginia Broadband Advisory Council) but were unsuccessful. The ‘private sector’ appears to be Neubeam and Spectrum/Charter; they’ve been successful in keeping the policy cemented in place for 15 years, during which time they’ve cherry-picked the profitable neighborhoods.”
McKegg intends to ask, “What can the public do to support our legislators’ efforts to change the policy and bring the personal and economic benefits of good broadband to everyone on the Shore?”
To interview a spokesperson about this event, contact Willie Justis at 757-709-2275 or firstname.lastname@example.org.