Broadband is essential infrastructure in the modern world.  The COVID-19 pandemic underscores this fact.  Individuals and businesses with high-speed internet are not isolated.  They can connect to the people, information and things they need.

Broadband, for example, allows employees to work remotely.  Order groceries.  Receive medical care.  Attend school.  Access the latest news updates.

Broadband fosters economic development and commerce.  It connects us to those we love.

Unfortunately, too many individuals and businesses in our region lack broadband, the opportunities it affords and the needs it secures.  The Broadband Team at Bowles Rice is helping to change that.

West Virginia’s Attorney General selected our Team in a competitive procurement to provide legal and legislative advice to the state’s Broadband Enhancement Council.  In this role, our Team has assisted the Council with, among other things:

  • Negotiating contracts for the development of major broadband expansion projects in state rights-of-way;
  • Evaluating feasibility studies prepared by utilities for the construction and operation of broadband enhancement projects in their service areas;
  • Drafting and assessing broadband legislation, and preparing comments on federal broadband regulations and initiatives; and
  • Advising the Council and other state entities on implementing and complying with West Virginia’s “Dig Once” Policy Act, Cooperative Associations Act and Make-Ready Pole Access Act.

The Broadband Team at Bowles Rice also assists internet service providers, municipalities, non-profits and businesses throughout West Virginia and Pennsylvania on broadband matters.  Past projects include negotiating franchise agreements with municipalities for the construction of fiber optic cable networks.  We also have advised county and municipal elected officials on the practicability of forming a cooperative association to deliver broadband to an underserved community.  In that instance, businesses and individuals, a college, a hospital, and others were interested in launching the co-op and contracting with an internet service provider to manage its operations.

Presently, our Team is providing counsel to an area development corporation that has been awarded federal funds to construct and operate a broadband network in several unserved and underserved communities in West Virginia.  This project has involved review and analysis of federal grant requirements; drafting a grant application for additional funding; and negotiating an operating agreement with the service provider that will manage the internet.  In addition, our Broadband Team will join forces with the Bowles Rice Construction Group to negotiate the construction contracts required by the project.

As the region’s leading Broadband Team, we look forward to helping you, your business or your community get connected.

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