Dan River Supervisor in Patrick County, Virginia, sent me the following message and it is posted as a public service.
The message below is sent on behalf of Rondi Furgason, CenturyLink General Manager-V
Link Below, Please Help! It is imperative that we defeat Defeat HB378.
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am writing to alert you to an urgent situation that has developed at the Virginia General Assembly that could have a severe impact on CenturyLink’s customers and the Company’s ability to continue broadband investment in the 34 mostly rural counties and 7 cities we serve in Virginia, including your area.
I have provided a more detailed explanation below, but in sum certain members of the General Assembly are considering a bill that would ultimately force companies like CenturyLink to eliminate the equivalent of its entire annual capital budget over the next year. Our capital dollars are the very dollars that enable broadband, improve service quality and ensure safety and reliability for services such as 911 for emergency and homeland security threats. During the past year, CenturyLink invested over $20 million dollars in Virginia. We are expecting to make a similar investment in Virginia this year, although the pending bill could certainly affect that decision.
As introduced, this legislation is bad public policy with virtually no consumer benefit. I hope that you would agree with me that access to broadband services and the ability to build infrastructure for new businesses are critical components of a comprehensive effort to bring new jobs and more opportunities to rural Virginia. If you agree, I hope that you will call your state delegate and state senator today and ask them to oppose House Bill 387. The initial votes on this bill could occur as early as next week. If you do not know who represents you in Richmond, you can find that information by going to the General Assembly’s website at http://legis.state.va.us/ and selecting the “Who’s My Legislator” button.
Background. As you probably know, on July 1, 2009, Embarq became CenturyLink. Also in 2009, the State Corporation Commission issued an order that requires that CenturyLink reduce a major component of its “access charges” by 25% on July 1, 2010 and another 25% by July 1, 2011 and stated that it would address the remaining 50% in a proceeding to begin in July of this year. “Access charges” are the charges paid by long distance companies, such as Sprint and AT&T, to local Virginia companies, such as CenturyLink, to connect calls from customers who are served by Virginia local telecommunications companies. Although CenturyLink disagrees with the Commission’s action, the Commission was sensitive to the possible adverse effects of the revenue loss on CenturyLink’s investment and consumers’ rates and provided an opportunity for CenturyLink to manage the loss over time. The current bill, which was instigated by Sprint, would interfere in the pending case and force the complete elimination of over $20 million over a much shorter timeframe. At the same time, the “savings” that companies like Sprint receive would not stay in Virginia to benefit our citizens, but rather go back to their out-of-state corporate headquarters.
Your help on this issue is critical for rural Virginia. We may not have as many votes in Richmond as the large metro areas, but I believe that those of us who live, work and invest in rural Virginia need to work together ensure that our voices are heard.
General Manager, VA
From Roger T Hayden
Dan River District Supervisor, PCBOS
390 Cox Ridge Road'
Claudville, Va 24076
"Together WE can make a Difference in Twenty-Ten"