2011 Enacted Broadband Legislation

High-speed broadband is considered by many to be a fundamental vehicle for new services and applications that are critical to the nation’s economic vitality. State legislative involvement has been critical to successful implementation of a variety of broadband projects. In 2011 at least 10 states and the District of Columbia passed a variety of broadband measures.

2011 Year-end Summary (January 10, 2012)

H.B. 1312
Status: March 25, 2011; Act No. 599
Directs the Broadband Council to provide a written biennial report to the Governor and the General Assembly and to provide interim reports as requested; repeals provisions providing for a final report on a specified date and providing for the expiration of the council.

H.B. 1525
Status: March 16, 2011; Act No. 290
Amends the telecommunications regulatory reform act of 1997; preserves the high cost fund; promotes the expansion of broadband services in rural and high- cost areas; relates to universal service customer support, loop support and switching support.

H.B. 2033
Status: April 7, 2011; Act No. 1050
Amends the telecommunications regulatory reform act of 1997; prohibits a government entity from providing, directly or indirectly, basic local exchange, voice, data, broadband, video, or wireless telecommunication service; provides exceptions; allows a governmental entity to purchase voice, data, broadband, video, or wireless telecommunications services directly or indirectly from a private provider through a contract managed by the Department of Information Systems.

S.B. 243
Status: March 28, 2011; Act No. 719
Makes various corrections concerning business and commerce; relates to hold harmless clauses in construction contracts, regulating the distribution of drug samples to physicians and practitioners, advertisements in school calendars, and promotion of broadband networks.

H.B. 1342
Status: June 22, 2011; Act No. 151
Exempts broadband infrastructure improvements, including the interconnection of telecommunications cables, from state or county permitting requirements for five years; provides that no person or entity shall be required to upgrade or replace an existing utility pole when using that utility pole to install new telecommunications cables or to improve existing telecommunications cables; establishes the Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance Advisory Council.

H.B. 296
Status: April 12, 2011; Chaptered. Chapter No. 271
Relates to the income tax credit for capital investments; relates to investments in energy property or broadband equipment; makes a technical correction to provisions stating that qualified investments shall not include certain amounts allowed under the Internal Revenue Code in computing taxable income; updates references to the Internal Revenue Code.

S.B. 480
Status: May 13, 2011; Public Law No. 219-2011
Authorizes the Utility Regulatory Commission to delegate authority to its staff to grant requests for numbering resources submitted through the safety valve process established by the Federal Communications Commission in a specified document concerning local telecommunications competition; specifies reporting requirements for certain providers, including broadband service providers; relates to the disclosure of information regarding the areas in which services are deployed by video service providers.

S.B. 209
Status: December 16, 2011; Chapter No. 123
Makes changes concerning depreciation allowances and earned income tax credits; makes appropriations to the Department of Education, the Department of Corrections, the State Public Defender, the Department of Public Health, and the Department of Human Services; authorizes certain contracts for broadband development; makes an appropriation from the property tax relief fund for development disabilities services; establishes repeals dates for provisions related to such services; creates a Taxpayers Trust Fund.

S.B. 72
Status: August 10, 2011; Chapter No. 2011-54
Concerns telecommunication price deregulation; provides that all local exchange carriers and electing carriers shall offer consumers the option of notifying the carrier that they do not desire a change of carrier regardless of orders issued by any third party; provides that a letter of agency signed by the consumer shall satisfy notification requirement for such changes; requires a report of the current rates for services; includes facilities based carriers, commercial mobile radio service and broadband.

H.B. 129
Status: May 21, 2011; Session Law Number 2011-84
Protects jobs and investment by regulating local government competition with private business; regulates city-owned telecommunications service providers; includes cable, video programming, telecommunications, broadband, or high-speed Internet access service to the public, or any sector of the public, for a fee, regardless of the technology used to deliver the service; prohibits discriminatory pricing or access with respect to a privately owned telecommunications service provider.

H.B. 593
Status: June 16, 2011; Session Law Number 2011-163
Authorizes Nash County to provide grants to unaffiliated providers of high-speed Internet broadband for the purpose of expanding service in unserved areas for economic development in the county; provides that the grants shall be awarded on a technology neutral basis, shall be open to qualified applicants, and may require matching funds by the private provider; requires the county to use only unrestricted general fund revenue for the grants.

H.B. 2192
Status: June 1, 2011; Chaptered. Chapter No. 189
Allows the use of universal service fund moneys for determining the availability of broadband services within the state; removes the authorization for the use of universal service fund moneys to facilitate the availability of broadband at reasonable rates.

S.B. 78
Status: May 27, 2011; Act No. 53
Establishes policies and programs to facilitate statewide cellular, smart grid and broadband deployment in Vermont by the end of the year 2013; relates to certificates of public good for communications facilities, stormwater discharge permits for telecommunications facilities, Act 250 exemptions for communications lines, renewable energy generation plant permits, pole attachment disputes, state-owned mountaintop use as communications sites, and high speed Internet service by satellite.

S.B. 507
Status: May 4, 2011; Act No. 16
Continues Broadband Deployment Council until 2014.

B. 203
Status: September 14, 2011; Assigned Law Number 21
Creates the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Support Act; relates to broadband access, District green building priorities, historic preservation fees, rent supplements, affordable housing, E-911 funds, school funding, a not-for-profit hospital corporation, vehicle fees, business income combined reporting, armored car and private investigation service, hotel, property transfer, cigarette, retirement account distribution, corporate franchise, and internet sales taxes, hospital assessments, and numerous other matters.

NCSL Contacts: Jo Anne Bourquard - 303-364-7700.