RICHMOND — Supporters name it a commonsense option to get broadband web into extra houses in rural Virginia. A Culpeper County couple calls it an unconstitutional infringement on their property rights.
The battle, which already has halted a $600 million broadband growth undertaking, doesn’t seem like going away anytime quickly.
At situation is a 2020 regulation permitting electrical and communications utilities to string fiber alongside their present poles, strains and conduit — an in depth community of infrastructure that already cuts by means of the far-flung mountains, fields and woodlands the place the state is hoping to get residents and companies hooked as much as high-speed web by 2024.
The laws permits the utility corporations to sidestep the difficulty and expense of negotiating with property homeowners alongside the routes, who in any other case can be entitled to compensation for the extra use of their property, even when it’s only a new strand of wire on a pole that’s been there for many years.
The regulation handed with close to unanimous, bipartisan assist, however when the Rappahannock Electrical Cooperative tried to invoke the provisions, it bought hit with a lawsuit by the homeowners of a farm in Culpeper County, John and Cynthia Grano.
The land, the place the couple raises horses and cattle, is bisected by two electrical transmission strains and one native distribution line. It is usually dwelling to at least one electrical substation.