CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Senate is advancing a bill aimed at improving Internet service West Virginia.

The Senate Government Organization Committee Tuesday approved and sent to the floor HB 3093, which would establish statewide broadband enhancement and expansion policies to encourage growth of high-speed Internet across the state.

However, the bill advanced by the committee removed a provision that would have prevented Internet providers from advertising maximum speeds. Initially, the bill included restrictions on marketing “up to” maximum speeds because critics maintained they are misleading.

Committee members heard a legal explanation, however, that such a provision would make it virtually impossible for Internet providers to advertise about their service speeds and potentially put the state in conflict with Internet speed rules the Federal Communication Commission will be releasing in the coming months.

The legislation enables communities to band together to create co-ops that can build out the “last mile” of fiber necessary for connectivity. West Virginia ranks among the bottom of states in terms of high speed Internet. Generation West Virginia estimates that 544,000 West Virginians do not have adequate Internet service.

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