What is Senate Bill 14?

You may have heard talk in the news about state legislation regarding broadband easements in the last few months. I’d like to take a few moments to talk about what this legislation is and why passing Senate Bill 14 is beneficial to GVEC and our members.

The objective of this legislation is to use electric easements already in place for broadband purposes. Before this, Texas law required additional easements to add fiber to electrical infrastructure already in place. Prior to the passing of Senate Bill 14, although co-ops were allowed to install fiber alongside electric lines for communication purposes, internet services could not be provided from the fiber lines to customers without obtaining additional broadband easements. I am pleased to report that the Texas Senate and House overwhelmingly voted in favor of the bill. It was signed by the governor and became immediately effective on June 7.

What Does This Mean for GVEC?

For GVEC, the passing of this bill means fiber internet services coming to new areas faster than they would have before. Obtaining additional easements can take quite a bit of time, resulting in a longer wait-time for fiber build-outs and for GVEC to offer high-quality fiber internet services to eager customers. The time saved in obtaining new easements along already existing pole and line routes will be significant.

In addition to saving time, being able to use the easements already in place for electric service makes sense from a capital perspective. Freeing up resources that would previously be used in obtaining new right-of-way agreements means we can refocus them in building additional fiber. As more and more people become dependent on high-speed internet, we see the importance of providing this service in the rural areas GVEC is a part of—areas others are not willing to serve.

Members and property owners within the fiber construction pat will receive a letter notification with more information. As a reminder, you can show your interest in GVEC bringing extreme-speed fiber internet to your area by visiting connect.gvec.net.

This legislation is exciting and good news, making it simpler and quicker to provide high-speed internet access to our members and customers in the GVEC service territory. Priding ourselves on moving swiftly to deliver technology and solutions to the Guadalupe Valley, we are excited about the benefits and opportunities this legislation offers. I’d like to extend my personal appreciation to Senator Robert Nichols, representing Texas District 3, and Representative John Kuempel of Texas District 44, for supporting this milestone in expanding rural broadband infrastructure.

Contact Me by Phone, Email or Mail

I am always interested in your comments and feedback. Contact me by phone at 830.857.1152, by email at dschauer@gvec.org or by mail at P.O. Box 118, Gonzales, Texas 78629.

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