Broadband networks are the first enabling technology since electricity to fundamentally impact society to such a great extent that it is now viewed in economic development circles as “critical infrastructure”. Access to broadband provides communities with the foundation necessary for economic growth and a sustainable quality of life. At present, too many communities – both urban and rural – are not afforded access to affordable, reliable broadband telecommunications, and hence deprived of their ability to participate in enhanced social, education, occupation, healthcare, and economic development opportunities. It is critical that all Virginia communities have equal and affordable access to broadband telecommunications.
In September 2006, Governor Kaine signed Executive Order Thirty-Five, establishing the Office of Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance (OTPBA), which now resides within the Office of the Secretary of Technology. The OTPBA works to encourage public and private sector efforts in the deployment of telework policy and strives to eliminate the barriers that are preventing broadband from becoming accessible and affordable throughout the Commonwealth.