The Broadband Council is expected to award grants for projects in rural areas where broadband prices are typically high.
"Once competition is eliminated, the incumbents substantially increase their prices," the legislation states. "Incumbents will void grant applications for competitors," according to the bill.
The Public Service Commission could reduce that risk through regulation, according to the bill, which also prohibits companies from charging customers more than $10 per megabit of broadband speed.
State Broadband Council members said they didn't request the high-speed Internet regulation bill.
Lee Fisher, who serves on the council, said he hopes such proposals will spark discussion about broadband expansion in West Virginia.
"Most people think broadband connectivity is as vital as being able to make a phone call," said Fisher, who believes the state should establish a state agency to oversee broadband issues.
The PSC already monitors Frontier's broadband project spending in West Virginia.
In 2010, Frontier agreed to set up a $48 million into an escrow account to expand high speed Internet in West Virginia, provided the PSC approved Frontier's purchase of Verizon's landline business in Wes Virginia. The Public Service Commission signed off on the sale, and Frontier took over Verizon's telephone access lines July 1, 2010.
Frontier cannot withdraw any funds from the special account without Public Service Commission approval.
The PSC has rejected requests from the Communications Workers of America union and the PSC's Consumer Advocate Division to have a say in Frontier's future requests to tap the escrow account.
Under its agreement with the PSC, Frontier also must submit quarterly reports about the company's broadband expansion projects in West Virginia.
Frontier must make broadband available to 85 percent of customers within four years -- another condition the company agreed to before the sale.
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.