Broadband 2021 Legislation

Heather Morton 4/29/2021

Data streaming into globe in a laptop

With roughly 9 out of 10 adults in America using the internet, many consider it to be a necessity of modern life. Because access to the internet is unavailable or inadequate in parts of the country, states and the federal government are focusing on deploying broadband—the technologies that allow internet data to be transmitted at high speeds—as universally as possible.

In the 2021 legislative session, 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have pending legislation addressing broadband in issue areas such as educational institutions and schools, dig once, funding, governance authorities and commissions, infrastructure, municipal-run broadband networks, rural and underserved communities, smart communities and taxes. Fourteen states enacted legislation or adopted resolutions: Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.

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Broadband 2021 Legislation

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Alabama

None

 

 

Alaska

SJR 13

Supports broadband deployment in the state; recognizes the benefits of broadband; urges facilitation of broadband deployment; urges engagement with stakeholders; urges the U.S. Congress to include broadband in 2021 federal infrastructure legislation; and urges the Alaska delegation in Congress to advocate for flexible broadband funding parameters.

Funding

Arizona

HB 2036
Signed by governor 2/5/21, Chapter 3

Requires that, as part of a pole attachment agreement between an electric cooperative and an affiliate for broadband service, there is parity in the fees the electric cooperative charges the affiliate and any unaffiliated video service or telecommunications provider when both are attached to the same pole.

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Arizona

HB 2108

Proscribes the requirement of an annual fee for telecommunications corporations.

Infrastructure

Arizona

HB 2156
Passed House 2/24/21

Appropriates $5 million from the state General Fund in FY 2022 to the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) to provide broadband grants. Instructs the ACA to award broadband grants to cities and towns with a population of not more than 150,000. Provides factors for the ACA to consider in prioritizing grant awards.

Funding

Arizona

HB 2596
Passed House 3/1/21

Authorizes the installation of telecommunication facilities in a highway right-of-way by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) or a broadband service provider with permission from ADOT.

Infrastructure

Arizona

HB 2747
Passed House 2/24/21

Establishes the broadband and fiber optic services study committee. Establishes the five-member committee and outlines the committee membership. Directs the committee to determine the status of broadband and fiber optic services in Arizona by addressing at least the following issues: a) Access issues; b) Communities in which insufficient telecommunications service has caused social or economic impacts; c) Communities which with local franchises have not been complied; d) Communities where broadband or fiber optic service is necessary for competition; and e) Affordable and adequate service. Requires the committee to consult with policy experts for recommendations related to prioritizing resources to identified communities in need of new or increased broadband and fiber optic services. Instructs the committee, by Dec. 31, 2021, to submit a findings and recommendation report to the House of Representatives and send a copy to the secretary of state. Terminates the committee Oct. 1, 2022.

Governance and Rural and Underserved

Arizona

HB 2808
Passed House 2/24/21

Appropriates $10 million in onetime funding from the General Fund in FY 2022 to the Arizona Commerce Authority to provide rural broadband grants.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

Arizona

SB 1137
Substituted by HB 2036 1/28/21

Requires an electric cooperative nonprofit membership corporation to equally charge pole attachment fees to an unaffiliated video service provider or unaffiliated telecommunications provider and its affiliate for broadband service, if the providers are jointly attached to the same pole.

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Arkansas

HB 1600
Withdrawn by author 4/13/21

Amends the law concerning the state highway commission under amendment 42; and encourages the expansion of broadband by encouraging a "dig once policy".

Dig Once and Infrastructure

Arkansas

HB 1771

Creates an income tax credit for improvements or additions to broadband telecommunications services in certain areas

Infrastructure and Taxes

Arkansas

HB 1788
Passed Senate 4/12/21

Establishes broadband improvement districts.

Municipal

Arkansas

HB 1918

Creates broadband improvement districts.

Municipal

Arkansas

HB 1924

Creates broadband improvement districts.

Municipal

Arkansas

SB 74
Signed by governor 2/4/21, Act 67

Amends the telecommunications regulatory reform act of 2013; allows a government entity to purchase from a private provider and provide voice, data, broadband, video, or wireless telecommunications services.

Municipal

Arkansas

SB 605

Exempts broadband equipment from sales tax when the equipment is installed in a rural area.

Infrastructure, Rural and Underserved and Taxes

California

AB 14

This bill authorizes local educational agencies to report to the Department of Education their pupils’ estimated needs for computing devices and internet connectivity adequate for at-home learning. The bill requires the department, in consultation with the Public Utilities Commission, to compile that information and to annually post that compiled information on the department’s internet website. This bill authorizes the board of supervisors of a county to acquire, construct, improve, maintain, or operate broadband internet access service, and any other communications service necessary to obtain federal or state support for the acquisition, construction, improvement, maintenance, or operation of broadband internet access service, and requires a board that does so to take certain actions regarding the accessing of content on the internet by end users of that service. This bill requires the governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, known as “GO-Biz,”, on or before June 30, 2022, to develop recommendations and a model for streamlined local land use approval and construction permit processes for projects related to broadband infrastructure deployment and connectivity and to adopt, and post on its internet website, the recommendations and model, as specified. This bill requires the commission, in approving California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) infrastructure projects that provide last-mile broadband access to unserved and unserved households, to prioritize projects in unserved areas, as defined, where internet connectivity is available only at speeds at or below 6 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and one Mbps upstream or areas with no internet connectivity, with a goal of achieving at least 100 Mbps downstream, and to further prioritize projects based on other specified attributes. Upon the achievement of the goal of providing broadband access to 98% of California households in each consortia region, the bill requires the commission to prioritize only middle-mile infrastructure, as provided. The bill authorizes moneys appropriated for purposes of CASF program to be used to match or leverage federal moneys for internet infrastructure and adoption, as specified. The bill requires the commission to maximize investments in new, robust, and scalable infrastructure and use CASF moneys to leverage federal and non-CASF moneys by undertaking specified activities. The bill deletes the commission’s authorization to collect $330 million for deposit into the CASF beginning Jan. 1, 2018, and continuing through the 2022 calendar year, deletes the requirement that specified amounts of the surcharge revenues be deposited into those accounts, and instead authorizes the commission to collect the surcharge in an amount not to exceed an unspecified percentage of an end user’s intrastate telecommunications service costs to fund the accounts within the CASF. The bill revises, among other things, the eligibility criteria for grants awarded from the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account, as specified. The bill authorizes the additional uses of moneys in the Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortia Grant Account to, among other uses, promote adoption of free, low-cost, income-qualified, or affordable home internet service offers. This bill requires that the CASF program promote remote learning and telehealth, in addition to economic growth, job creation, and the substantial social benefits of advanced information and communications technologies. The bill repeals the requirement that moneys in the Broadband Public Housing Account not awarded by Dec. 31, 2020, be transferred back to the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account and requires that moneys in that account be available for grants and loans for network deployment in eligible publicly support communities, as specified. The bill authorizes the commission to require a performance metric plan to improve the administration of grants awarded from the Broadband Adoption Account. Existing law requires the commission to annually offer an existing facility-based broadband provider the opportunity to demonstrate that it will deploy broadband or upgrade existing facilities to a delineated unserved area within 180 days. Existing law prohibits the commission from approving funding for a project to deploy broadband to a delineated unserved area if the existing facility-based broadband provider demonstrates to the commission, in response to the commission’s annual offer, that it will deploy broadband or upgrade existing broadband service throughout the project area. This bill repeals that requirement and prohibition. This bill authorizes the commission, upon determining, in consultation with the state treasurer, that doing so would be lawful, to issue bonds secured by CASF surcharge revenues in an aggregate amount up to $1 billion for broadband deployment and adoption and provide that such bonds do not constitute a debt or liability of the state or of any political subdivision thereof, other than the commission. The bill establishes the Broadband Bond Financing and Securitization Account within the CASF and, if the commission issues bonds, deposits the moneys received by the commission from the CASF surcharge into the account for purposes of funding costs related to broadband bond financing and securities. The bill requires each local government agency or nonprofit organization allocated moneys from this account to file specified reports with the commission. Existing law requires the commission to conduct interim and final financial and performance audits of the implementation and effectiveness of the CASF for specified purposes and to report the interim findings to the Legislature by April 1, 2020, and to report the final findings by April 1, 2023. Existing law repeals this requirement on Jan. 1, 2027. This bill instead requires the commission, on or before April 1, 2023, and annually thereafter, to conduct a financial audit and a performance audit of the implementation and effectiveness of the CASF for those purposes and to report those findings to the Legislature. The bill requires the commission to submit that report in perpetuity. Existing law requires the commission, until April 1, 2023, to annually provide a report to the Legislature that includes certain information, including the remaining unserved areas in the state, the status of the CASF balance, and the projected amount to be collected in each year. This bill requires the commission to submit that report in perpetuity. This bill authorizes the commission to require each internet service provider, as defined, to report specified information regarding each free, low-cost, income-qualified, or affordable internet service plan advertised by the provider. Existing law requires the commission to require interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol service providers to collect and remit surcharges on their California intrastate revenues in support of the public purpose program funds. Existing law authorizes those providers to use certain methodologies to identify their intrastate revenues subject to the surcharge. This bill repeals that authorization to use those methodologies.

Education and Schools, Funding, Governance, Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

California

AB 34

This bill enacts the Broadband for All Act of 2022, which, if approved by the voters, would authorize the issuance of bonds in the amount of $10 billion pursuant to the State General Obligation Bond Law to support the 2022 Broadband for All Program that would be administered by the department of technology for purposes of providing financial assistance for projects to deploy broadband infrastructure and broadband internet access services. The bill provides for the submission of the bond act to the voters at the Nov. 8, 2022, statewide general election.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

California

AB 41

Under existing law, the Public Utilities Commission has regulatory authority over public utilities, including telephone corporations. Existing law requires the commission to develop, implement, and administer the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) program to encourage deployment of high-quality advanced communications services to all Californians that will promote economic growth, job creation, and the substantial social benefits of advanced information and communications technologies. Existing law prohibits each fixed internet service provider from engaging in specified activities relating to the provision of fixed broadband internet access service. This bill requires each fixed internet service provider, upon entering into an agreement with an individual or entity to deploy broadband infrastructure, to notify individuals and entities within that same census block of the agreement and of means to connect to, or benefit from, the broadband infrastructure or to join the agreement. The bill requires each fixed internet service provider to maintain a publicly accessible map on its internet website showing the broadband infrastructure that the provider has deployed and a publicly accessible database of binding quotes that it has provided to individuals and entities that request the deployment of broadband infrastructure. Existing law provides that the Department of Transportation has full possession and control of state highways and associated property. Existing law requires the department to notify companies and organizations working on broadband deployment on its internet website of specified department-led highway construction projects and authorizes those companies and organizations to collaborate with the department to install broadband conduits as part of those projects. This bill requires the department, as part of those projects that are located in priority areas, as defined, or areas that connect existing broadband infrastructure to priority areas, to install broadband conduits capable of supporting fiber optic communication cables. The bill requires the department to develop guidelines and specifications for the deployment of broadband infrastructure using a micro-trench, as defined.

Dig Once, Infrastructure, Mapping and Rural and Underserved

California

AB 537

Existing law requires a collocation or siting application for a wireless telecommunications facility be deemed approved if a city or county fails to approve or disapprove the application within the time periods specified in applicable FCC decisions, all required public notices have been provided regarding the application, and the applicant has provided a notice to the city or county that the time period has lapsed. Under existing law, eligible facilities requests, defined to include any request for modification of an existing wireless tower or base station that involves collocation of new transmission equipment, removal of transmission equipment, or replacement of transmission equipment, are exempt from these requirements. This bill removes the exemption for eligible facilities requests defined above. The bill requires that the time periods described above be determined pursuant to specified FCC rules. The bill requires that the city, county, or city and county notify the applicant of the incompleteness of an application within the time periods established by applicable FCC rules. The bill requires that the time period for a city or county to approve or disapprove a collocation or siting application commence when the applicant takes the first procedural step that the city or county requires as part of its applicable regulatory review process. The bill requires where a traffic control plan or other submission related to safety is required by construction in the public right-of-way, the applicant to comply with that requirement and the city or county would be authorized to condition approval of the application on compliance with that requirement, and the city or county would be required to issue approval for any submission related to that requirement without delay. The bill requires that a city or county not prohibit or unreasonably discriminate in favor of, or against, any particular technology.

Infrastructure

California

AB 955

This bill establishes additional procedures for the department of transportation’s review of an application for an encroachment permit for a broadband facility. Under the bill, these procedures requires the department, among other things, to notify an applicant in writing whether the application is complete within 30 days of receiving an application, to take certain actions if it deems an application incomplete, and to approve or deny an application that requires supplemental information within 30 days after receiving that information. If the department fails to notify the applicant that the application is incomplete or denied, as applicable, within those 30-day time periods, the bill deems the department’s failure to notify to constitute approval of the permit.

Infrastructure

California

AB 1166

Existing law requires that a collocation or siting application for a wireless telecommunications facility be deemed approved if a city or county fails to approve or disapprove the application within the reasonable time periods specified in applicable FCC decisions, as defined, all required public notices have been provided regarding the application, and the applicant has provided a notice to the city or county that the reasonable time period has lapsed. This bill requires that the reasonable time periods described above be determined pursuant to specified FCC rules, as defined, instead of applicable FCC decisions. The bill requires the time period for a city or county to approve or disapprove a collocation or siting application to commence when the applicant takes the first procedural step that the city or county requires as part of its applicable regulatory review process.

Infrastructure

California

AB 1176

This bill establishes the California Connect Fund in the State Treasury, subject to the conditions and restrictions applicable to the existing universal service funds described above. The bill, until Jan. 1, 2031, requires the commission to develop, implement, and administer the California Connect Program to ensure that high-speed broadband service is available to every household in the state at affordable rates. The bill requires the commission, on or before Jan. 1, 2023, to adopt rules to implement the program, including rules that establish eligibility criteria for the program and the amount of, and requirements for, subsidies under the program. The bill requires the commission to perform outreach to increase program participation and to collect data on existing affordable internet service plans that may meet program criteria. The bill requires the commission to annually report to the Legislature on the status of the program, including its success and any recommendations for modifications to the program, as provided.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

California

AB 1342

Under existing law, the Public Utilities Commission has regulatory authority over public utilities. Existing law includes legislative findings that public utilities have dedicated a portion of their utility pole support structures to cable television corporations for pole attachments and declares that the provision by public utilities of surplus space and excess capacity for pole attachments is a public utility service delivered by public utilities to cable television corporations and is in the interests of the people of California. Under existing law, whenever a public utility and a cable television corporation or association of cable television corporations are unable to agree upon the terms, conditions, or annual compensation for pole attachments or the terms, conditions, or costs of rearrangements, the commission is required to establish and enforce the rates, terms, and conditions for pole attachments and rearrangements so as to ensure a public utility the recovery of specified funds. This bill makes nonsubstantive changes to those provisions.

Infrastructure

California

AB 1349

This bill adds churches to the list of eligible applicants for moneys from the Broadband Adoption Account.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

California

AB 1425

This bill, beginning Jan. 1, 2022, transfer $25 million to the Broadband Public Housing Account for providing grants to provide connectivity, as defined, to residents of publicly subsidized multiunit housing complexes. The bill establishes that the goal of the Broadband Public Housing Account is to provide connectivity to all residents of publicly subsidized multiunit housing by 2025 or as soon as practicable thereafter. If the collection of the surcharge for the California Advanced Services Fund program is extended beyond the 2022 calendar year, the bill transfers annually $25 million to the Broadband Public Housing Account until the goal of the fund is achieved or when the collection of the surcharge is terminated, whichever occurs earlier. The bill requires the commission to give preferences to certain applications for grants from the Broadband Public Housing Account, as provided.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

California

AB 1433

This bill establishes the Rapid Digital Upskilling for Displaced Workers Grant Program, to be administered by the board. The bill requires the board to award grants to five counties for Rapid Digital Upskilling for Displaced Workers training programs to provide specified skills to individuals to empower them for careers in growth industries, as prescribed. The bill establishes eligible uses of training program funds and requirements for grant applications and grant awards. The bill requires the board to prepare and submit to the Legislature, by March 1, 2023, a report regarding the uses and outcomes of funds appropriated for purposes of the bill, to include, at a minimum, prescribed information relating to program participation and effectiveness. The bill defines terms for its purposes. The bill makes implementation of the grant program contingent on appropriation by the Legislature of funds for the purposes of the bill.

Digital Literacy

California

AB 1483

Existing law establishes the California Broadband Council with duties that include, but are not limited to, ensuring that all relevant state agencies are made aware of actions necessary to fully implement recommendations in the 2008 Broadband Task Force Report. Executive Order N-73-20, among other things, directed the council to create a new State Broadband Action Plan by Dec. 31, 2020, which resulted in the adoption of the 2020 Broadband for All Action Plan. This bill requires the council to ensure that all relevant state agencies are made aware of actions necessary to fully implement recommendations in the 2020 Broadband for All Action Plan, instead of the 2008 Broadband Task Force Report.

Governance

California

AB 1557

This bill requires a public utility that receives a request for pole attachment from a cable television corporation to notify the cable television corporation, as soon as possible, but by no later than 10 days after receipt of the request, of any additional information needed to respond to the request. The bill requires the public utility to notify the cable television corporation, as soon as possible, but by no later than 45 days after receipt of the request, if the attachment request is accepted or denied. If the request is denied, the bill requires the public utility to state all of the reasons for the denial and the remedy to gain access to the pole for attachment. If the request is accepted, the bill requires the public utility to include a cost estimate, based on actual cost, for any necessary make-ready work required to accommodate the requested attachment. If the public utility determines that a pole replacement is necessary, the bill authorizes the public utility and the cable television corporation to negotiate terms and conditions for the requested attachment and if the public utility is an electrical corporation, authorizes the electrical corporation to recover the cost of the pole replacement in a general rate case or, if applicable, a wildfire mitigation plan approval proceeding.

Infrastructure

California

AB 1560

This bill requires the superintendent of Public Instruction to, on or before April 1, 2022, and annually thereafter, survey each school district, county office of education, and charter school and report to the Legislature on the number of pupils without computing devices that meet the minimum performance standard for distance learning, as established by the superintendent, and on the number of pupils from households without residential broadband service. Contingent upon an appropriation, the bill authorizes the superintendent to provide each eligible pupil in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, of a local educational agency with a computing device that meets the minimum performance standard for distance learning, as established by the superintendent, in order to participate in distance learning. The bill requires the superintendent to maintain on the superintendent’s internet website, and distribute to certain entities, a list of broadband service options available for eligible low-income Californians, including service options offered voluntarily by broadband service providers and broadband service options offered by providers participating in the state lifeline program administered by the Public Utilities Commission, as provided. Existing law requires contracts for the acquisition of information technology goods and services related to information technology projects, as defined, to be made by or under the supervision of the Department of Technology. Contingent upon an appropriation, the bill authorizes the department to enter into a sponsored service agreement, as defined, on behalf of a school district, county office of education, or charter school with a broadband service provider for the purpose of providing free or reduced-cost residential broadband service to eligible pupils in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, of a local educational agency, as provided. The bill requires a local educational agency electing to participate in a sponsored service agreement to provide the broadband service provider with certain information on eligible pupil households that consent to providing the information so the provider can determine if the household is within the provider’s service area and does not currently subscribe to broadband service. The bill requires information provided under these provisions to be confidential and would prohibit that information from being publicly disclosed or used by the provider for any purpose unrelated to providing service under the sponsored service agreement.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

California

SB 4

This bill requires the governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, known as “GO-Biz,” to coordinate with other relevant state and local agencies and national organizations to explore ways to facilitate streamlining of local land use approvals and construction permit processes for projects related to broadband infrastructure deployment and connectivity. This bill requires the commission, in approving California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) infrastructure projects, to instead prioritize projects in unserved areas, as defined, where internet connectivity is available only at speeds at or below 10 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and one Mbps upstream or areas with no internet connectivity, with a goal of achieving at least 100 Mbps downstream. This bill authorizes moneys appropriated for purposes of CASF program to be used to match or leverage federal moneys for internet infrastructure and adoption, as specified. The bill requires the commission to maximize investments in new, robust, and scalable infrastructure and use CASF moneys to leverage federal and non-CASF moneys by undertaking specified activities. The bill deletes the commission’s authorization to collect $330 million for deposit into the CASF beginning Jan. 1, 2018, and continuing through the 2022 calendar year, thereby authorizing the commission to collect an unspecified amount for an unspecified duration to fund the accounts within the CASF and deletes the requirement that specified amounts of those surcharge revenues be deposited into those accounts. The bill requires the commission to ensure that each service supplier, as defined, remits to the commission revenues from a monthly surcharge not to exceed $0.23 per month per access line for deposit into the CASF. The bill deletes the prohibitions on the commission approving projects in areas that the existing facility-based broadband provider demonstrates it will deploy broadband or upgrade existing broadband service to that area and publicly disclosing information relating to the provider’s plans for future broadband deployment. The bill revises, among other things, the eligibility criteria for grants awarded from the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account and the Broadband Public Housing Account, as specified. This bill requires the commission to establish the Broadband Bond Financing and Securitization Account within the CASF and deposit the moneys received by the commission from the CASF surcharge into the account for purposes of funding costs related to broadband bond financing and securities. The bill requires each local government agency or nonprofit organization allocated moneys from this account to file specified reports with the commission. Existing law requires the commission to conduct interim and final financial and performance audits of the implementation and effectiveness of the CASF for specified purposes and to report the interim findings to the Legislature by April 1, 2020, and to report the final findings by April 1, 2023. Existing law repeals this requirement on Jan. 1, 2027. This bill instead requires the commission, on or before April 1, 2023, and biennially thereafter, to conduct a fiscal and performance audit of the implementation and effectiveness of the CASF for those purposes and to report those findings to the Legislature. The bill requires the commission to submit that report in perpetuity. Existing law requires the commission, until April 1, 2023, to annually provide a report to the Legislature that includes certain information, including the remaining unserved areas in the state, the status of the CASF balance, and the projected amount to be collected in each year. This bill requires the commission to submit that report in perpetuity.

Funding, Governance, Infrastructure

California

SB 28

This bill, the Rural Broadband and Digital Infrastructure Video Competition Reform Act of 2021, requires the Department of Technology, in collaboration with other state agencies, to compile an inventory of state-owned resources, as defined, that may be available for use in the deployment of broadband networks in rural, unserved, and underserved communities, except as specified. The bill requires the department to collaborate on the development of a standardized agreement to enable those state-owned resources to be leased or licensed for that purpose. The bill requires the department to post the inventory and agreement on the department’s internet website, update them as necessary, and provide technical assistance related to them to state departments and agencies. This bill prohibits a franchise holder from discriminating against or denying access to service to any group of potential residential subscribers, regardless of their income, and would authorize the commission to suspend or revoke a franchise for a violation of this prohibition. The bill requires the public utilities commission to consult with the local governments within the franchisee’s service territory regarding remedies for the service impacts resulting from violations of these requirements as part of any proceeding to suspend or revoke the franchise. The bill deletes the provision in the act stating that the holder of a state franchise is not a public utility as a result of providing video service and the provision stating that the act does not provide the commission with authority to regulate the rates, terms, and conditions of video service except as explicitly set forth in the act. The bill requires the commission to collect granular data on the actual locations served by the holder of a state franchise, adopt customer service requirements for a holder of a state franchise and adjudicate any customer complaints, and assess the build out obligations of a holder of a state franchise to further competition and expansion of video service, as specified. The bill repeals the existing reporting requirements applicable to a franchise holder and instead requires that a franchise holder report specified information relative to the locations that the holder made broadband service available and that received broadband service and information relative to the locations that the holder made video service available and that received video service.

Governance, Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

California

SB 275

Under existing law, the Public Utilities Commission has regulatory authority over public utilities, including telephone corporations. The Moore Universal Telephone Service Act established the Universal Lifeline Telephone Service program in order to provide low-income households with access to affordable basic residential telephone service. Existing law requires the commission, as soon as practicable, in a proceeding or multiple proceedings, to consider ways to ensure that advanced telecommunications services are made available as ubiquitously and economically as possible, in a timely fashion, to California’s citizens, institutions, and businesses and provides that the proceeding or proceedings should be completed within one year of commencement. This bill makes a nonsubstantive change to the provisions requiring the commission to consider ways to ensure the availability of advanced telecommunications services.

Governance and Rural and Underserved

California

SB 378

This bill requires a local agency to allow, except as provided, microtrenching for the installation of underground fiber if the installation in the microtrench is limited to fiber. The bill also requires, to the extent necessary, a local agency with jurisdiction to approve excavations to adopt or amend existing ordinances, codes, or construction rules to allow for microtrenching. This bill  also authorizes a city or county to impose on an applicant for a permit for a broadband infrastructure development project a reasonable fee for costs associated with the submission, and the expedited review, processing, and approval of an application, including, but not limited to, personnel costs as necessary, if the applicant elects for the expedited review and processing and agrees to pay that fee.

Infrastructure

California

SB 732

This bill requires the department of education to develop and implement a program for county offices of education, school districts, and charter schools to issue no-cash value vouchers to be distributed to households with eligible pupils, as defined, to be used during the 2021–22 fiscal year to assist those households with the impacts of distant or remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill repeals these provisions on Jan. 1, 2023. The bill appropriates an unspecified amount to the department for purposes of developing and implementing the program. This bill establishes the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Fund as a continuously appropriated fund in the State Treasury and requires the commission to develop, implement, and administer the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Program to provide high-quality broadband service with speeds of at least 100 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and 100 Mbps upstream to rural areas that are unserved, as defined, and to the extent moneys remain available, to upgrade broadband service availability in rural areas that are underserved, as defined. The bill appropriates $5 billion to the commission, and additionally appropriates $1 billion per year for five years beginning with the 2023–24 fiscal year, for purposes of developing, implementing, and administering the program.

Education and Schools, Funding and Rural and Underserved

California

SB 740

This bill continues the date to achieve the goal of the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) program to no later than Dec. 31, 2032. Existing law authorizes the public utilities commission to collect a sum not to exceed $330 million to implement the CASF program through the imposition of a surcharge that is collected through the 2022 calendar year. This bill extends the collection of the surcharge until the full sum of $330 million is collected. Existing law establishes the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account in the CASF to provide grants for the deployment of infrastructure capable of delivering access to unserved households, as provided. Existing law requires the commission, in administering that account, to annually offer an existing facility-based broadband provider the opportunity to demonstrate that it will deploy broadband or upgrade existing facilities to a delineated unserved area within 180 days. Existing law prohibits the commission from approving funding for a project to deploy broadband to a delineated unserved area if the existing facility-based broadband provider demonstrates to the commission, in response to the commission’s annual offer, that it will deploy broadband or upgrade existing broadband service throughout the project area. This bill repeals that requirement and prohibition. The bill expands eligibility for grants from that account to include additional households and requires projects awarded grants from that account to deploy infrastructure capable of providing broadband access at increased speeds, as specified. Under existing law, a local governmental agency is eligible for a grant from that account only if the project is for an unserved household or business, and no other eligible entity applied after the commission has conducted an open application process. This bill repeals that provision.

Funding

California

SB 743

This bill, upon appropriation by the Legislature, requires the Public Utilities Commission to establish a grant program to fund broadband adoption, digital literacy, and computer equipment for eligible publicly supported communities, as defined. The bill requires the commission to award grants to eligible publicly supported communities for the purpose of providing either one-time funding for computer equipment and to establish computer labs or ongoing funding for up to three years for broadband service and digital literacy programs.

Digital Literacy, Funding and Rural and Underserved

Colorado

HB 1109
Passed House 3/22/21

Concerns the broadband deployment board, and, in connection therewith, modifying the composition of the board, requiring the board to develop a request for proposal process for deploying broadband into critically unserved areas in the state, and requiring the board to give additional consideration to proposed projects that would include discounted service for low-income households.

Governance and Rural and Underserved

Colorado

HB 1114
Passed House 3/17/21

With certain exceptions, a local government is currently required to obtain voter approval and meet other requirements before providing internet access (advanced service) to the public. The bill specifies that these requirements do not apply to a school district or board of cooperative services providing advanced service that enables students, teachers, and staff members of the district to access a school-owned and operated network to facilitate remote learning.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

Colorado

SB 60

The bill amends the definition of "broadband network" to increase downstream and upstream speed requirements and adds a definition of "critically unserved", which means a household or area that lacks access to at least one provider of nonsatellite broadband service delivered at measurable speeds of at least 10 megabits per second downstream and one megabit per second upstream. The bill reduces the membership of the broadband deployment board (board) in the department of regulatory agencies from 16 members to nine members. Requires the board to develop a reimbursement program to reimburse certain households for up to $600 per year for broadband service. A household is eligible to apply for reimbursement if the household: Includes children enrolled in grades K-12 who receive free or reduced-price lunch through a school's lunch program; or Has an income that does not exceed the higher of the federal poverty level or 30% of area median income. Requires the board to develop a request for proposal process through which the board will solicit bids for proposed projects to serve areas of the state that the office of information technology has determined lack access to broadband service at measurable speeds of at least 10 megabits per second downstream and one megabit per second upstream. Each year, the board is required to reserve at least 50% of the money from the high cost support mechanism that is allocated for broadband deployment to award grants to proposed projects solicited through the request for proposal process. The bill also limits the notice and comment period for a local entity's review of an application from 60 days to 30 days and removes provisions requiring the board to apply for specific types of federal funding because the board has completed those applications. The bill further requires the public utilities commission, in consultation with the board, to: Adopt rules establishing speed testing protocols by which broadband grant applicants must abide; and Consider, on a biennial basis starting in 2023, whether to modify by rule the definitions of "broadband network" and "critically unserved" and certain aspects of the reimbursement program, including eligibility for reimbursement and the maximum amount of money that the board may annually reimburse a household. The bill repeals the current board composition requirements on Aug. 31, 2021.

Governance, High Speed and Rural and Underserved

Colorado

SB 72
Passed Senate 4/14/21

Creates the Colorado electric transmission authority, requires transmission utilities to join organized wholesale markets, and allowing additional classes of transmission utilities to obtain revenue through the colocation of broadband facilities within their existing rights-of-way. Under current law, a cooperative electric association with an electric easement on real property is authorized to install or to allow a commercial broadband supplier to install broadband facilities on the real property, subject to notice and procedural requirements. The bill expands the authorization to also apply to either of the following entities with an electric easement: A generation and transmission cooperative electric association; or the federal western area power administration within the U.S. department of energy.

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Connecticut

HB 5254
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 3/25/21

Requires that the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority initiate a docket and adopt regulations to amend the process of attaching equipment to public utility poles, including 5G mobile telephone wiring and fiber wires for high-speed broadband internet infrastructure.

Infrastructure

Connecticut

HB 5635
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 3/25/21

Grants each telecommunications company the ability to offer such company's services in any municipality within the state, and to prevent a cap on internet data plans or fees for a customer using more data than such customer's allocated internet data plan.

Consumer Relations

Connecticut

HB 5835
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 3/25/21

Prevents telecommunications companies from increasing fees charged to such companies' customers during a global pandemic.

Consumer Relations

Connecticut

HB 6152
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 3/25/21

Requires telecommunications companies to provide notice, and provide receipt of said notice, about any intended work on a property to all owners and abutting residents of such property.

Consumer Relations

Connecticut

HB 6156
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 3/25/21

Prevents telecommunications companies from instituting a cumulative internet data usage cap on any residential customer.

Consumer Relations

Connecticut

HB 6157
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 3/25/21

Requires the regulation of all residential internet service, by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, as a public utility in the state, including a requirement that all rate increases must be approved by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.

Governance

Connecticut

HB 6166
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 3/25/21

Identifies internet connectivity as a basic human need and eligible for funding under existing programs.

 

Connecticut

HB 6442

This bill contains numerous provisions related to broadband internet access service and broadband internet access service providers. Among other things, it: 1. sets certain goals that state agencies must consider when implementing the bill; 2. requires the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) to develop state broadband availability maps and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to develop broadband speed metrics; 3. requires property owners to disclose, upon request, their property’s internet speeds when they publicly list it for sale or rent; 4. allows municipalities to use grants from the Local Capital Improvement Program to build a municipal broadband network that meets certain speed requirements; 5. allows the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to exercise certain elements of its regulatory powers over broadband providers; 6. requires broadband providers to pay into the Public Utility Control Fund; 7. requires broadband providers to refund customers for service outages that last more the 24 hours; 8. requires PURA to develop a “one-touch make-ready” procedure for attaching additional equipment to utility poles; and 9. limits the days and times when a broadband provider can terminate a customer’s service due to delinquent payments.

Consumer Relations, Governance, High Speed, Infrastructure, Mapping, Municipal and Rural and Underserved

Connecticut

HB 6536

This bill generally requires an employer to reimburse an employee for all necessary expenditures, including internet service, incurred by the employee within his or her scope of employment and directly related to services performed for the employer.

 

Connecticut

SB 68
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 3/25/21

Creates a task force to examine broadband internet in the state of Connecticut and make recommendations to the General Assembly regarding high-speed internet access, provider selection and market competition to improve service quality.

Governance and High Speed

Connecticut

SB 258
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 3/25/21

Requires internet service providers to expand internet service coverage areas into areas without existing internet service coverage for affordable rates.

Rural and Underserved

Connecticut

SB 451
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 3/25/21

(1) Prevents telecommunications companies from imposing a cap on internet data plans, (2) requires the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority regulate cable television rates, (3) requires the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority regulate information services not currently regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, (4) requires the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, in consultation with the Office of Consumer Counsel, develop standard contracting terms for information services, and (5) amends the Connecticut Antitrust Act and requires the attorney general to report annually to the General Assembly on enforcement of the Connecticut Antitrust Act with regards to information services issues.

Consumer Relations

Connecticut

SB 990
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 3/25/21

Prevents the imposition of new data caps during COVID-19.

Consumer Relations

Delaware

None

 

 

District of Columbia

B24-77

Requires the development of a comprehensive, multi-year technology plan for the District of Columbia Public Schools to support quality, equitable education that ensures one-to-one student and teacher device ratios; practical digital literacy training; robust remote and in-school IT support and maintenance; improved technology infrastructure; and sufficient

internet access for all to support learning in schools and at home.

Digital Literacy

District of Columbia

B24-200

Amends the Office of the Chief Technology Officer Establishment Act of 1998 to create a Digital Equity Division within the Office of the Chief Technology Officer, requires reporting on District residents’ access to high-speed internet service, and requires that all District residents have a high-speed internet connection.

Governance and High Speed

Florida

HB 753

Provides for transfer of funds from State Transportation Trust Fund to State Economic Enhancement & Economic Development Trust Fund; requires DOT to consult with Florida Office of Broadband to ensure projects are consistent with strategic plan; revises duties of Florida Office of Broadband; creates Florida Broadband Opportunity Program in DEO; provides requirements for grant awards; authorizes grant applications to be challenged; provides priority for receiving grants; provides limit on amount of individual grants.

Funding, Governance and Rural and Underserved

Florida

HB 985

Relates to use of federal funding to support online learning; requires the Department of Education to publish a report on its website by a specified date; providing requirements for the report; requires the department, in consultation with the Office of Broadband, to make certain recommendations.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

Florida

HB 1239

Requires municipal electric utilities to ensure their broadband provider rates and fees meet certain requirements; requires pole replacement to be completed within specified timeframe; prohibits utilities from requiring broadband provider to comply with attachment specifications that exceed specified safety levels; authorizes municipal electric utilities and broadband providers to negotiate agreements or renegotiate existing agreements and to petition court after specified timeframe if unable to reach agreement.

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Florida

HB 1339

Revises duties of Florida Office of Broadband; requires local technology planning teams to work with rural communities for specified purposes; requires office to develop GIS maps consistent with certain federal reporting standards; requires DEO to annually update maps and establish mechanism to receive and verify governmental and public input related to broadband internet service; authorizes DEO to work with specified entities in developing mechanism; requires office to develop broadband infrastructure asset map; establishes Broadband Deployment Task Force for specified purpose; requires annual progress reports.

Funding, Governance, Mapping and Rural and Underserved

Florida

HB 1567

Creates and revises provisions regarding PSC's power to regulate and enforce rates, charges, terms, and conditions for poles and pole attachments; requires PSC to regulate certain plants and equipment of communications services providers; creates provisions concerning redundant poles.

Infrastructure

Florida

HB 3029

Provides an appropriation for the Jefferson County Broadband System.

Funding

Florida

SB 1016

Revises legislative findings to include digital devices and home-based internet connectivity in infrastructure as necessary for a high-quality digital learning environment; requires each school district to adopt a digital learning plan; requires school districts to submit plans to the Department of Education by a certain date in a format prescribed by the department; requires the department to develop one or more state term contracts for a specified purpose, etc.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

Florida

SB 1560

Revising the duties of the Florida Office of Broadband within the Department of Economic Opportunity; requires the office to develop geographic information system maps in collaboration with specified entities and consistent with certain federal reporting standards by a specified date; establishes the Broadband Deployment Task Force within the office for a specified purpose; requires the office to publish certain information related to grant applications and grant awards on its website; requires the office to establish a process to identify eligible households to receive federal Emergency Broadband Benefit Program funds under certain circumstances, etc.

Funding, Governance, Mapping and Rural and Underserved

Florida

SB 1592

Cites this act as the "Florida Broadband Deployment Act of 2021"; exempts the purchase or lease of certain equipment by a provider of communications services or a provider of internet access services in this state from the sales and use tax; requires municipal electric utilities to ensure that their broadband provider rates and fees meet certain requirements, make certain records available to broadband providers, provide access to its utility poles, and establish just and reasonable terms and conditions for broadband provider attachments; prohibits municipal electric utilities from prohibiting a broadband provider from using certain techniques and equipment if used in accordance with certain safety standards; authorizes a broadband provider seeking a new pole attachment to invoke the Florida one-touch, make-ready process, etc.

Infrastructure, Municipal and Taxes

Florida

SB 1944

Requires the Public Service Commission to regulate and enforce rates, charges, terms, and conditions for pole attachments under certain circumstances; provides situations under which a pole owner may deny access to the owner’s pole on a nondiscriminatory basis; authorizes the commission to hear and resolve complaints concerning rates, charges, terms, conditions, voluntary agreements, and denial of access relative to pole attachments; requires attaching entities to remove pole attachments from redundant poles within a specified timeframe after receipt of a written notice from the pole owner, etc.

Governance and Infrastructure

Florida

SB 2004

Requires the Florida Office of Broadband’s strategic plan to include short-term and long-term goals for increasing the availability of and access to broadband internet service in this state; requires the updated plan to be submitted to the governor, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, and the Legislature by a specified date; requires the office to provide technical and planning assistance related to broadband infrastructure to rural communities, etc.

Governance and Rural and Underserved

Georgia

HB 520
Failed to pass House 3/8/21

Amends Article 1 of Chapter 40 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to general provisions regarding promotion and deployment of broadband services, so as to revise a definition; to provide for related matters; repeals conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

 

Georgia

HB 608

Amends Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to state government, so as to provide for planning, deployment, and incentives of broadband services throughout the state; provides for definitions; provides for certain powers, duties, and responsibilities of the OneGeorgia Authority and the Department of Community Affairs relative to funding and contractual awards for the deployment of broadband services to unserved areas and unserved locations within such areas; provides certain criteria and conditions for such awards; establishes a process and procedure for the department to receive and investigate comments and suggestions related to proposed awards; provides for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

Funding, Governance and Rural and Underserved

Georgia

SB 65

Amends Title 46 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to public utilities and public transportation, so as to provide for the funding of the deployment of certain communications services throughout this state; changes and provides for certain definitions; changes certain provisions relating to the Universal Access Fund so as to modernize such Act and to provide for a certain portion of such fund to be used for the deployment of broadband services in unserved areas; provides for certain powers and duties of the Public Service Commission so as to fund contributions and distributions; provides for limitations and sunset provisions; provides for administration of the fund; and provides for related matters.

Funding, Governance and Rural and Underserved

Guam

None

 

 

Hawaii

HB 83

Requires the public utilities commission to ensure consumers are provided with access to information services, including internet services, that are available at just, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory uncapped rates.

Governance and Rural and Underserved

Hawaii

HB 615
SB 909

Requires the department of business, economic development, and tourism to develop a plan to ensure that all communities in the state having schools receiving federal Title I education funds have high-speed broadband internet access.

Education and Schools and High Speed

Hawaii

HB 809

Establishes the Hawaii broadband office within the Hawaii technology development corporation. Establishes the position of state broadband strategy officer. Renames the broadband assistance advisory council as the broadband advisory council and amends its purpose and membership. Requires the chief executive officer of the Hawaii technology development corporation to convene and chair the broadband advisory council. Appropriates funds.

Governance

Hawaii

HB 810

Establishes and appropriates funds for a broadband infrastructure grant program to be administered by the department of business, economic development, and tourism.

Funding, Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Hawaii

HB 913
SB 1067

Establishes the Hawaii broadband and digital equity office within the department of business, economic development, and tourism.

Governance

Hawaii

HB 1191
To House for concurrence 4/13/21
SB 917

Establishes the broadband infrastructure grant program to award grants to applicants to extend deployment of infrastructure used to provide broadband service to unserved areas of the state. Amends the Hawaii technology loan revolving fund to change it to the Hawaii broadband infrastructure fund, including the types of funds deposited into the fund. Authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds for the broadband infrastructure grant program.

Funding, Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Hawaii

HB 1251
SB 947
Passed Senate 3/9/21

Establishes the Hawaii broadband and digital equity office within the governor's office. Appropriates funds for the establishment and staffing for the Hawaii broadband and digital equity office.

Governance

Hawaii

HB 1337

Establishes the online early learning program within the Executive office on early learning. Appropriates monies. The office shall require the service provider to submit a quarterly report to the Early Learning Board containing the following: (1) The number of families volunteering to participate in the program; (2) The number of families selected to participate in the program; (3) The number of families requesting a computer or home internet service; (4) The number of families that are provided a computer or home internet service; (5) The participating families' frequency of using the instructional software provided by the program; (6) Parental feedback on the program; and (7) Student performance on prekindergarten and kindergarten readiness assessment.

Education and Schools

Hawaii

HB 1387
SB 910

Requires the Hawaii Public Housing Authority to establish a pilot program to ensure that all housing units in the Kuhio Park Terrace and Puuwai Momi public housing complexes are provided with sufficient internet speeds and connection quality. Appropriates moneys.

Rural and Underserved

Hawaii

HCR 161
Passed House 3/31/21
HR 137
Adopted 3/31/21
SCR 88
Passed Senate 3/31/21
SR 67
Adopted 3/31/21

Supporting and adopting the goals set forth in the digital equity declaration for Hawaii adopted by the broadband hui.

Digital Literacy and Rural and Underserved

Hawaii

SB 850
Passed Senate 3/9/21

Creates a task force jointly convened by the department of transportation and department of business, economic development, and tourism to provide equitable broadband access for historically marginalized, unserved, and underserved rural communities. Requires the task force to apply for federal moneys for broadband access. Requires the departments' report to include the findings of the task force and an accounting of amounts received from the CARES Act and Emergency Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020 and grants disbursed by the state for broadband infrastructure for rural communities.

Funding, Governance and Rural and Underserved

Hawaii

SB 851

Clarifies that certain small wireless facilities and associated modified or replaced utility poles shall be classified as permitted uses and shall not be subject to zoning review or zoning approval if they are deployed in an underserved area or unserved area. Defines "underserved area" and "unserved area."

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Hawaii

SB 1296

Establishes a broadband infrastructure grant program to be administered by the department of business, economic development, and tourism. Makes an appropriation.

Funding, Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Hawaii

SB 1390

Establishes a three-year broadband infrastructure task force to develop and support projects and partnerships to build and sustain the state's broadband infrastructure. Appropriates funds.

Governance

Hawaii

SCR 31
SR 20

Requests the department of business, economic development, and tourism to conduct a needs assessment of rural areas in the third senatorial district that identifies infrastructure improvements necessary to ensure broadband access for residents.

Governance

Hawaii

SCR 67
Passed Senate 3/31/21
SR 49
Adopted 3/31/21

Recognizes Oct. 4 through Oct. 8, 2021, as digital inclusion week in the state of Hawaii.

Rural and Underserved

Hawaii

SCR 68
SR 50

Requests the legislative reference bureau to conduct a study on ways to close the digital divide.

Rural and Underserved

Hawaii

SCR 72
Passed Senate 3/31/21
SR 54
Adopted 3/31/21

Requests the department of business, economic development and tourism to establish a working group to develop funding sources for rural broadband improvements.

Rural and Underserved

Hawaii

SCR 219
Passed Senate 3/30/21
SR 179
Adopted 3/30/21

Urges the executive office on aging to form a working group and develop a plan for outreach to kupuna to remediate a lack of digital literacy, broadband access, and computer equipment.

Digital Literacy and Rural and Underserved

Idaho

HB 127
Signed by governor 3/23/21, Chapter 127

Relates to the Idaho broadband fund; amends chapter 47, title 67, Idaho code, by the addition of a new §67-4760, Idaho code, to establish the Idaho broadband fund; amends chapter 47, title 67, Idaho code, by the addition of a new §67-4761, Idaho code, to establish the Idaho broadband advisory board.

Funding, Governance and Rural and Underserved

Idaho

SB 1149

Relates to broadband communications infrastructure and systems; amends chapter 3, title 50, Idaho code, by the addition of a new §50-346, Idaho code, to provide certain powers and authority to a municipality regarding broadband communications infrastructure and systems, to provide that a municipality shall account for certain moneys, prohibits a municipality from using eminent domain, provides that a municipality shall not be limited in the use of other powers, and defines terms.

Municipal

Illinois

HB 122

Amends the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. Provides that, subject to federal law and regulation, no provider of telephone, cellular telephone, television, internet, energy, medical alert system, or water services shall impose a fee for termination or early cancellation of a service contract if the customer dies before the end of the contract. Provides that every violation is an unlawful practice within the meaning of the Act.

Consumer Relations

Illinois

HB 841

Amends the Public Utilities Act. Provides that cable or video providers shall cease charging customers for modems and routers, whether rented together or separately, when the customer has paid to the provider the wholesale cost of the modem or router, or modem and router if rented together, plus a reasonable mark-up not to exceed 5% of the modem, router, or modem and router wholesale cost to the provider. Provides that the cable and video provider shall provide notice regarding the discontinuance of rental charges to the customer in each billing statement. Provides that the notice shall include a disclosure of rights and responsibilities relating to the maintenance of modems and routers.

Consumer Relations

Illinois

HB 2384

Amends the Public Utilities Act. Replaces provisions relating to the Universal Telephone Service Assistance Program with provisions that require the Illinois Commerce Commission to establish a Universal Broadband Service Assistance Program. Provides that the Program shall provide for a reduction of monthly charges, a reduction of installation charges, devices used in connection to the Internet, or any other alternative assistance or program to increase accessibility to broadband service and broadband Internet access service that the Commission deems advisable subject to the availability of funds for the program. Makes other conforming changes. Creates a similar program for low-income residential customers of cable and video service providers. Extends the repeal of the Telecommunications and Cable and Video Competition Articles from Dec. 31, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2022.

Rural and Underserved

Illinois

HB 3275

Creates the Illinois Low Income Broadband Assistance Program Act. Requires the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to establish an Illinois Low Income Broadband Assistance Program (Program) to ensure the availability and affordability of broadband service to low income families in order to access remote learning and work platforms. Provides that the Department shall coordinate with Local Administrative Agencies to determine eligibility for the Program, provided that eligible income shall be no more than 150% of the federal poverty level. Provides that families whose annual household income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty level shall be eligible for free broadband service. Provides that a credit of at least $9.95 a month for broadband services shall be payable monthly to: (i) families whose annual household income is above 135% of the federal poverty level but no greater than 150% of the federal poverty level; and (ii) families that include at least one adult person or dependent child who qualifies for or participates in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Supplemental Security Income program, Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefits Programs, and other specified assistance programs. Provides that the $9.95 broadband service credit may be adjusted according to family size. Provides that families who participate in the federal Lifeline program or any other State Internet service subsidy program shall not be eligible to participate in the Illinois Low Income Broadband Assistance Program. Provides bill payment requirements. Provides for the adoption of rules.

Rural and Underserved

Illinois

HB 3398

Amends the Illinois Income Tax Act. Creates an income tax credit for custodians of qualifying pupils for eligible education expenses related to online learning, including computers, printers, internet access, textbooks, tutors, and educational facilitators. Provides for an additional credit if the custodian is also an eligible teacher. Creates an income tax credit for employers of custodians of qualifying pupils for eligible expenditures paid by the employer on behalf of the custodian. Provides that the credit is exempt from the Act's automatic sunset provision. Amends the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act to provide for emergency rulemaking.

Education and Schools and Taxes

Illinois

SB 513

Amends the Public Utilities Act. Provides that cable or video providers shall cease charging customers for modems and routers, whether rented together or separately, when the customer has paid to the provider the wholesale cost of the modem or router, or modem and router if rented together, plus a reasonable mark-up not to exceed 5% of the modem, router, or modem and router wholesale cost to the provider. Provides that the cable and video provider shall provide notice regarding the discontinuance of rental charges to the customer in each billing statement. Provides that the notice shall include a disclosure of rights and responsibilities relating to the maintenance of modems and routers.

Consumer Relations

Illinois

SB 871

Amends the Eliminate the Digital Divide Law. Makes a technical change in a section concerning legislative findings.

Rural and Underserved

Illinois

SB 1121

Amends the Broadband Advisory Council Act. Makes a technical change in a Section concerning the short title.

Governance

Illinois

SB 1557

Amends the Public Utilities Act. Replaces provisions relating to the Universal Telephone Service Assistance Program with provisions that require the Illinois Commerce Commission to establish a Universal Broadband Service Assistance Program. Provides that the Program shall provide for a reduction of monthly charges, a reduction of installation charges, devices used in connection to the Internet, or any other alternative assistance or program to increase accessibility to broadband service and broadband Internet access service that the Commission deems advisable subject to the availability of funds for the program. Makes other conforming changes. Creates a similar program for low-income residential customers of cable and video service providers.

Rural and Underserved

Illinois

SB 1564

Amends the Public Utilities Act. Provides that the holder of a state-issued authorization shall not impose data caps on broadband service provided to households. Provides that "data caps" means a limit on the amount of bits or the speed at which a user of broadband service may upload or download bits during a period of time.

Consumer Relations

Illinois

SB 2229

Amends the Illinois Procurement Code. Provides that the Code does not apply to the leasing of State-owned facilities by a wireless carrier. Amends the Illinois Income Tax Act. Creates credit for the cost of equipment and materials used in the business of providing broadband services in Illinois. Provides that the credit does not apply to equipment and materials placed in service after Dec. 31, 2024. Amends the Use Tax Act, the Service Use Tax Act, the Service Occupation Tax Act, and the Retailers' Occupation Tax Act to exempt equipment and materials used to provide broadband services in Illinois from taxation under the Acts. Defines terms.

Taxes

Illinois

SB 2247

Amends the Illinois Procurement Code. Provides that the Code does not apply to the leasing of state-owned facilities by a wireless carrier. Amends the Illinois Income Tax Act. Creates credit for the cost of equipment and materials used in the business of providing broadband services in a county in the state with a population of fewer than 40,000 people or a township in the state with a population density of less than 50 households per square mile in a county with a population of less than 300,000 people. Provides that the credit does not apply to equipment and materials placed in service after Dec. 31, 2026. Amends the Use Tax Act, the Service Use Tax Act, the Service Occupation Tax Act, and the Retailers' Occupation Tax Act to exempt equipment and materials used to provide broadband services in a county in the state with a population of fewer than 40,000 people or a township in the state with a population density of less than 50 households per square mile in a county with a population of less than 300,000 people.

Taxes

Indiana

HB 1069

Provides that a communications service provider (provider) shall notify the Indiana utility regulatory commission (IURC) of a service outage that: (1) prevents the provider from providing service to at least 25 customers in a contiguous geographical area; and (2) is sustained or consistent over a period of seven or more consecutive days. Requires the provider to: (1) notify the IURC regarding the service outage not later than eight days after the start of the service outage; and (2) provide the IURC with updates regarding the service outage at least once every 24 hours until the service outage ends. Requires the IURC to publish the provider's notification on the IURC's Internet web site. Provides that, within 45 days after the start of the service outage, the IURC may hold one or more public meetings regarding the service outage and requires the provider to: (1) provide notice of the public meeting to the provider's customers affected by the service outage; and (2) present a root cause analysis of the service outage at the public meeting. Allows the IURC to revoke the certificate of territorial authority of a provider that fails to comply with these provisions.

Consumer Relations and Governance

Indiana

HB 1413

Provides that eligible rural employers qualify for loans under the rural broadband fund. Provides that the office of community and rural affairs (office) shall establish procedures for awarding grants to eligible rural employers. Specifies that the office shall act on an application not later than 30 days after receipt of an eligible rural employer's application.

Funding, Governance and Rural and Underserved

Indiana

HB 1414

Allows a county or municipality to use Barrett Law assessments to fund projects for the deployment of broadband infrastructure in areas in which there is not at least one provider of terrestrial broadband internet service.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

Indiana

HB 1426

Changes the criteria for eligibility of broadband grants for rural areas.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

Indiana

HB 1449
Passed both houses 4/12/21

Amends the statute governing the awarding of grants from the rural broadband fund as follows: (1) Provides that an "eligible broadband project" for purposes of the statute includes a project for the deployment of terrestrial broadband infrastructure: (A) to buildings used by public school corporations primarily for educating students; (B) to rural health clinics; (C) to ensure that eligible students (defined as Indiana residents who are less than 23 years of age and who are enrolled in a K-12 school in Indiana) have access points providing a connection to eligible broadband service; and (D) in rural areas in Indiana. (Current law provides that an "eligible broadband project" means only a project for the deployment of broadband infrastructure for the provision of eligible broadband service in rural areas in Indiana.) (2) Specifies that terrestrial broadband infrastructure includes infrastructure used for a fixed wireless internet connection but does not include infrastructure used for a satellite internet connection. (3) Provides that "eligible broadband service" means a connection to the Internet that provides an actual speed of at least: (A) 1,000 megabits per second downstream for a project involving the deployment of broadband infrastructure to public school corporation buildings or rural health clinics; or (B) 50 megabits per second downstream and at least five megabits per second upstream for a project to provide to eligible students access points for connections to eligible broadband service, or for a project to provide eligible broadband service to rural areas. (4) Specifies the following priorities for the awarding of grants from the rural broadband fund: (A) First, for extending eligible broadband service to public school corporation buildings with respect to which the only available Internet connections are at actual speeds of less than 1,000 megabits per second downstream. (B) Second, for extending eligible broadband service to rural health clinics with respect to which the only available Internet connections are at actual speeds of less than 1,000 megabits per second downstream. (C) Third, for extending eligible broadband service so as to ensure that every eligible student has at the student's residence an access point providing a connection to eligible broadband service. (D) Fourth, extending eligible broadband service to rural areas in which the only available connections to the Internet are at actual speeds of less than 25 megabits per second downstream. (5) Provides that a state agency may fund an eligible broadband project that is designated as a lower priority under the funding priorities set forth in the statute if no competitive applications for eligible broadband projects designated as a higher priority are submitted in a particular round of grant funding. (6) Specifies that a grant may not be awarded from the rural broadband fund: (A) for any project to extend the deployment of eligible broadband service to one or more service addresses for which funding from the federal government has been used or will be disbursed to extend broadband service at actual speeds of at least 25 megabits per second downstream to those same addresses; or (B) if the awarding of the grant would jeopardize funding that has been awarded by the federal government under certain programs for purposes of expanding broadband service in Indiana. (7) Provides that the system of priorities used by the office of community and rural affairs (office) for awarding grants from the rural broadband fund must give preference to projects that require a lower contribution from the fund per passing, as determined by a specified calculation. (8) Provides that the procedures established by the office for the awarding of grants from the rural broadband fund must require the office to: (A) include, in publishing grant applications to the office's Internet web site, specific addresses for which state funds would be used to provide eligible broadband service; and (B) consider, in making a determination as to whether to award a grant to an applicant, all comments or objections received during the statutory comment period, including any new grant application that: (i) is submitted within the statutory comment period by another eligible broadband service provider; and (ii) indicates that such other provider would be willing to provide eligible broadband service to the same addresses at a lower cost to the state. (9) Requires the office to establish a program to expand broadband internet connectivity by: (A) entering into agreements with broadband service providers under which such providers agree to accept subsidy payments distributed by the office as a form of payment for eligible broadband service; and (B) distributing subsidy payments to participating providers to be used as a form of payment for eligible broadband service provided before July 1, 2025, to certain persons and entities, prioritized as follows: (i) School buildings. (ii) Rural health clinics. (iii) Eligible students. Provides that money in the rural broadband fund may be used to provide financial assistance under the new program. (10) Requires the office to establish and publish on the office's internet web site: (A) specific, measurable goals; and (B) metrics to be used in assessing the progress made toward accomplishing those goals; for the disbursement of state broadband grant funds. (11) Requires the office to report annually to the interim study committee on energy, utilities, and telecommunications (rather than to the general assembly, under current law) concerning the awarding of state broadband grants. (12) Requires the state board of accounts to conduct an annual audit (rather than an audit every three years, under current law) of the awarding of state broadband grants. Establishes the Indiana broadband connectivity program (connectivity program), under which the office must establish a public broadband portal through which an individual may report that minimum broadband Internet (defined as a connection to the Internet at an actual speed of at least 25 megabits per second downstream and at least three megabits per second upstream) is unavailable at the individual's residential or business address. Provides that the public broadband portal must solicit information as to whether one or more eligible students reside at an address that is reported by an individual through the portal. Provides that the office may contract or consult with one or more third parties in the creation or administration of the portal. Provides that a broadband Internet provider may: (1) register with the connectivity program; (2) receive, at least every three months, notice of addresses submitted to the office as addresses at which minimum broadband Internet is unavailable; (3) report to the office any listed address at which the provider's minimum broadband Internet service is already available; and (4) bid for an award of a grant for purposes of extending connectivity to broadband Internet service (defined as a connection to the Internet at an actual speed of at least 50 megabits per second downstream and at least five megabits per second upstream) to an address at which minimum broadband Internet is unavailable. Provides that if the office does not receive notice from any providers that minimum broadband Internet is available at an address reported through the public broadband portal, the office shall transmit to each registered provider a bid notification for provision of broadband internet service at the address. Specifies requirements for a provider's submission of a bid under the program. Provides that in evaluating the bids received, the office shall select the provider whose bid presents the lowest cost to the state for extension of the provider's broadband Internet infrastructure to the address. Provides that the amount of a grant awarded to a registered provider under the program may not exceed the following: (1) A per-line extension amount that exceeds $25,000. (2) A per-passing amount that exceeds the state's cost per passing for all grants awarded from the rural broadband fund for rural broadband grants as of the last day of the immediately preceding state fiscal year, as calculated by the office. Requires the office to enter into an agreement with a provider that is awarded a grant under the program. Requires the office to provide to the general assembly an annual report containing specified data regarding the connectivity program.

Funding, High Speed, Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Indiana

HB 1500

Provides that fiber optic cable is exempt from property taxation for an eligible business.

Taxes

Indiana

HB 1522

Requires the office of technology (office) to produce a map illustrating the Indiana census blocks in which broadband service, defined relative to the broadband speed benchmark set forth by the Federal Communications Commission, is available to property owners within the census block. Requires the office to consider broadband service to not be available to property owners within a census block if eligible broadband service is available for purchase at less than 80% of the residential and commercial addresses within the census block. Provides that the office shall provide information collected for purposes of the map to the office of community and rural affairs for purposes of the rural broadband grant program. Provides for the confidentiality of information collected by the office from private entities for purposes of the map. Provides that a communications service provider that does not provide information regarding the communications service provider's broadband service within a census block for purposes of the map may not challenge: (1) the office's determination regarding whether broadband service is available within the census block; or (2) an application for a rural broadband grant for an eligible broadband project in an area containing the census block.

Mapping

Indiana

SB 230

Establishes the rural school ILEARN administration pilot program (program). Provides that the state board of education (state board), in consultation with the department of education (department), may approve not more than 20 rural elementary schools to participate in the program. Requires the department to review the correlation between a student's lack of access to the Internet or computer technology and the online administration of the statewide assessment and, on or before Nov. 1, 2023, submit its findings to the legislative council and publish the findings on its internet web site. Provides that the program expires July 1, 2031.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

Indiana

SB 264
Passed Senate 2/2/21

Urges the legislative council to assign to the interim study committee on energy, utilities, and telecommunications (committee) the topic of the installation and leasing of broadband capacity infrastructure by investor-owned electric utilities to broadband service providers for the provision of broadband Internet service to unserved and underserved areas in Indiana. Provides that if a study is assigned to the committee: (1) the committee must consider certain specified issues; and (2) an electric utility may submit to the committee, not later than July 1, 2021, a study concerning the feasibility of making available broadband capacity infrastructure for use by broadband service providers in providing broadband service in unserved or underserved areas in the electric utility's assigned service area.

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Indiana

SB 272

Imposes limitations on fees, terms, and conditions that may be imposed by a person or entity for access to: (1) tracks, conduits, subways, or poles; or (2) other equipment on, over, or under a street or highway; owned or controlled by the person or entity. Specifies that providers of cable service are communications service providers regulated under certificates of territorial authority issued by the Indiana utility regulatory commission.

Infrastructure

Indiana

SB 352
Passed both houses 4/13/21

Requires the office of community and rural affairs (office) to establish a process to be used before each formal submission of applications for grants from the rural broadband fund (fund) in which the office will: (1) invite any prospective grant applicant to submit a letter of intent identifying all addresses and census blocks that the applicant intends to include in a grant application; and (2) make all addresses and census blocks submitted in letters of intent publicly available for a period of time, during which eligible broadband service providers will have the opportunity to challenge a listed address or census block. Provides that challenges under the new process are to be based on the asserted deployment of "minimum broadband Internet" (defined as a terrestrial connection to the internet that provides an actual speed of at least 25 megabits per second downstream and at least three megabits per second upstream) at a specific address. Specifies that the process established is to precede and remain distinct from the statutory procedures for actual grant applications. Provides that the department of transportation (INDOT) may require a private entity to agree, as a condition of INDOT leasing a right-of-way to the private entity, that facilities constructed or installed by the private entity in or under the right-of-way, which if removed would: (1) cause irreparable soil disturbance; or (2) have a detrimental effect on INDOT's facilities or on the facilities of other utilities; will be considered abandoned without additional consideration, upon the private entity's written notice to INDOT. Provides that upon being abandoned, a facility may no longer be used for any purpose by any public or private entity.

Funding, Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Indiana

SB 359
To Senate for concurrence 4/5/21

Requires the Indiana department of transportation (INDOT) to create a broadband corridor program (dig once program) to manage the location, installation, and maintenance of communications infrastructure that is used for the provision of broadband services and is located within the rights-of-way of limited access highways. Requires INDOT to adopt policies, procedures, and standards under the dig once program for required installation of fiber conduit by a public or private entity that performs an excavation within a limited access highway right-of-way.

Dig Once and Infrastructure

Indiana

SB 377
To Senate for concurrence 4/13/21

Establishes the Indiana broadband connectivity program (program) for the purpose of expanding availability of broadband internet connectivity throughout Indiana. Provides that as part of the program, the office must establish a public broadband portal through which an individual may report that minimum broadband internet (defined as a connection to the Internet at an actual speed of at least 25 megabits per second downstream and at least three megabits per second upstream) is unavailable at the individual's residential or business address. Provides that a broadband internet provider may: (1) register with the program; (2) receive, at least every three months, listings of addresses submitted to the office as addresses at which minimum broadband internet is unavailable; (3) report to the office any listed address at which the provider's minimum broadband internet service is already available; and (4) bid for an award of a grant for purposes of extending connectivity to broadband internet service (defined as a connection to the Internet at an actual speed of at least 50 megabits per second downstream and at least five megabits per second upstream) to an address at which minimum broadband Internet is unavailable. Provides that in evaluating any bids received under the program, the office shall select the provider whose bid presents the lowest cost to the state. Provides that a grant awarded to a provider under the program may not exceed the following: (1) A per-line extension amount that exceeds $25,000, regardless of the number of addresses served by the line extension. (2) A per-passing amount that exceeds the state's cost per passing for all rural broadband grants awarded from the fund as of the last day of the immediately preceding state fiscal year. Requires the office to provide to the general assembly an annual report containing specified data regarding the program. Provides that the office may maintain a geographic information system (GIS) or similar data base that contains spatial data regarding the availability of broadband internet service in Indiana. Provides that the office may evaluate the broadband internet coverage map created by the Federal Communications Commission under the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act (FCC map) and: (1) if the office finds that the FCC map: (A) provides address level broadband internet coverage information; or (B) provides a greater level of detail than the office's broadband internet coverage map; use the FCC map to update the office's broadband internet coverage map; or (2) if the office finds that the FCC map does not: (A) provide address level broadband internet coverage information; or (B) provide a greater level of detail than the office's broadband internet coverage map; report that finding to the interim study committee on energy, utilities, and telecommunications during the 2022 legislative interim.

Funding, Governance, Mapping and Rural and Underserved

Iowa

HF 586
Passed House 3/23/21

Relating to the development and utilization of high-speed electronic transmission mediums. Adds certification program for Broadband forward and telecommuter forward.

Infrastructure

Iowa

HF 789

Relates to matters under the purview of the economic development authority, including tax credit programs, statewide tourism, incentives for manufacturers to invest in smart technologies, and an energy infrastructure revolving loan program, and making appropriations.

Smart Communities

Iowa

HF 796
Withdrawn from further consideration 3/29/21

Relates to broadband service, including matters under the purview of the Office of the Chief Information Officer, the empower rural Iowa broadband grant fund; includes effective date and applicability provisions.

Funding, Governance and Rural and Underserved

Iowa

HF 848
Passed both houses 4/6/21

Relates to broadband service, including matters under the purview of the Office of the Chief Information Officer, the empower rural state broadband grant fund; includes effective date and applicability provisions.

Funding, Governance and Rural and Underserved

Iowa

SF 390
Withdrawn from further consideration 4/6/21

Relates to broadband service, including matters under the purview of the Office of the Chief Information Officer, the empower rural Iowa broadband grant fund; includes effective date and applicability provisions.

Funding, Governance and Rural and Underserved

Kansas

None

 

 

Kentucky

HB 320
Signed by governor with line item veto 3/26/21
Veto overridden 3/29/21, Act 171

Relates to the provision of broadband services, and makes an appropriation therefor.

Consumer Relations, Funding, Governance, Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Kentucky

HB 348

Repeals and reenacts KRS 246.010 to alphabetize the definitions and add definitions for "broadband" or "broadband service," "broadband deployment fund," "broadband deployment project area," "census block," "shapefile," "underserved area," and "unserved area"; amends KRS 246.030 to add the Office of Innovation to the Department of Agriculture; creates a new section of KRS Chapter 246 establishing the Office of Innovation and providing the duties and responsibilities of the office; creates a new section of KRS Chapter 246 establishing the broadband deployment fund in the Office of Innovation; repeals KRS 224A.1121 and reenacts as a new section KRS Chapter 246, amending all references of the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority to the Office of Innovation, and authorizing the Department of Agriculture to promulgate administrative regulations for the broadband deployment fund program; amends KRS 224A.011 to delete all definitions related to the broadband deployment fund program; amends KRS 224A.110 to delete all references to the broadband deployment fund program; amends KRS 224A.112 to delete all references to the broadband deployment fund program; amends KRS 154.15-020 to require the Kentucky Communications Network Authority to obtain written permission from the Office of Innovation before applying for federal funds; amends KRS 18A.115 to exempt Office of Innovation employees from classified service under KRS 18A.005 to 18A.200

Funding, Governance and Rural and Underserved

Kentucky

HB 417

Creates a new section of KRS Chapter 139 to define terms; provides for a refund of sales and use taxes paid to providers of communications service, internet access, and multichannel video programming services, or any combination thereof; requires yearly report of refunds to the Legislative Research Commission for the effective calendar years of 2022 through 2025; amends KRS 131.190 to authorize the report from the Department of Revenue; make technical changes.

Taxes

Kentucky

HB 511

Amends KRS 278.5461 relating to the definition of "broadband."

 

Kentucky

HB 515

Amends KRS 224A.1121 to include broadband deployment in the description of project area.

Funding

Louisiana HB 465 Provides relative to the leasing of the 4.9 GHz band. Spectrum

Louisiana

HB 476

Enacts Chapter 12-A of Title 51 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950, to be composed of R.S. 51:1371, relative to broadband development; provides legislative intent; encourages parishes and municipalities to utilize public-private partnership projects; authorizes parishes and municipalities to create data authorities; authorizes the use of funds; prohibits a partnership from also being a service provider; and provides for related matters.

Infrastructure

Louisiana

HB 648

Establishes a grant program to be administered by the office of broadband development and connectivity in the division of administration.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

Maine

LD 80

This bill requires that 33% of sales and use tax revenue collected by the state tax assessor from marketplace facilitators, with respect to marketplace-facilitated sales, after required transfers to other funds be transferred to the ConnectMaine Authority to further deployment of high-speed internet and broadband infrastructure to unserved and underserved areas of the state.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

Maine

LD 83

This bill clarifies the meaning of "unserved area" within the state's broadband service laws by providing that the criteria established by the ConnectMaine Authority by rule to define that term must include any geographic area where broadband service is not available or where the speeds available are less than 100 megabits per second for downloads and less than 100 megabits per second for uploads.

Rural and Underserved

Maine

LD 720

This bill provides a one-time appropriation to the Municipal Gigabit Broadband Network Access Fund to be used to develop broadband infrastructure in Aroostook County.

 

Funding

Maine

LD 807

This bill proposes to enact measures to ensure equitable access to mobile internet access through portable wireless access points, or mobile hotspots, for Maine students through federal funding for establishment and maintenance.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

Maine

LD 848

This bill expands high-speed internet access in rural communities in the state by creating incentives for companies to expand their services to those communities. It expands the definition of "rural" to include specific levels not included in the federal definition. Each level would create more incentives for companies to connect to the most rural areas of the state. It proposes four tiers for populations under 2,500 people: 1. Rural tier 1: 2,000-2,499; 2. Rural tier 2: 1,500-1,999; 3. Rural tier 3: 1,000-1,499; and 4. Rural tier 4: fewer than 1,000. Tax breaks would be offered to companies to help offset the costs of expanding to the rural areas, which would become available once 90% of the citizens of a community are connected to high-speed internet service.

High Speed, Rural and Underserved and Taxes

Maine

LD 933

This bill authorizes the Public Utilities Commission to adopt rules establishing a mechanism or process by which utility pole joint use rates in unserved areas of the state are required to be reduced or capped in a manner designed to encourage broadband expansion in those unserved areas and joint use rates in areas of the state that are not unserved areas are required to be increased. The bill also requires the Public Utilities Commission, in consultation with the ConnectME Authority, to study methods of promoting broadband expansion in unserved areas of the state through a limited-period reduction in utility pole attachment rates for broadband providers that agree to deliver new high-speed internet service in those unserved areas in conjunction with a limited-period increase in utility pole attachment rates in areas of the state that are not unserved areas. No later than Jan. 1, 2022, the Public Utilities Commission is required to submit a report to the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology describing the findings of that study and any recommendations, including proposed legislation, resulting from that study. After reviewing the report, the joint standing committee may report out legislation relating to the report to the Second Regular Session of the 130th Legislature.

 

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Maine

LD 1008

This bill requires a joint use entity, which includes a public utility, voice service provider, dark fiber provider, wholesale or retail competitive local exchange carrier, cable television system, unlit fiber provider, telecommunications service provider or information service provider, to designate a permanent liaison with each county emergency management agency in the state in counties in which the joint use entity has facilities in order to assist in the coordination of efforts during a disaster or civil emergency.

 

Maine

LD 1107

This bill establishes a satellite-based broadband grant program, to be developed and administered by the Public Utilities Commission, to provide grants of up to $500 to individuals for installation costs and other advance costs associated with the initial acquisition of broadband access from a satellite-based broadband provider. Under the program, grant priority is to be given to applicants from unserved or underserved areas of the state. This grant program is capitalized under the bill through a one-time General Fund appropriation of $1 million.

Funding

Maine

LD 1118

This bill provides an income tax credit for high-speed internet service providers who engage in a project approved by the commissioner of Economic and Community Development that provides high-speed internet service where the average number of potential customers per mile does not exceed 20 and the cost to the customers does not exceed the Consumer Price Index cost for high-speed Internet service in a metropolitan area.

 

Funding, High Speed and Rural and Underserved

Maine

LD 1148

This resolve directs the Department of Health and Human Services to work with providers of all levels of private nonmedical institution services to determine ways of providing no-cost broadband access to residents for medical, educational and recreational purposes through changes in MaineCare and grant-funded contracts. Requires the department to submit a report, including suggested legislation, by Dec. 1, 2021 to the Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services, which may submit a bill related to the report to the Second Regular Session of the 130th Legislature.

Rural and Underserved

Maine

LD 1190

This bill proposes to enact measures to support the provision of universal, affordable broadband internet.

Rural and Underserved

Maine

LD 1219

This resolve directs the Public Utilities Commission to convene a stakeholder group to develop recommendations for the implementation of third-party administration of utility pole attachment joint use under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 35-A, §711. Directs the commission to submit a report to the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology on or before Dec. 1, 2021 detailing the work of the stakeholder group and including proposals and other recommendations to implement the recommendations. After reviewing the report, the committee may report out a related bill to the Second Regular Session of the 130th Legislature.

 

Infrastructure

Maine

LD 1235

The funds provided by this bond issue, in the amount of $100 million, will be used to provide funding for a world-class affordable high-speed internet infrastructure that will reach 98% of homes and businesses in the state within five years.

Funding

Maine

LD 1432, Special Session

This bill amends the Municipal Gigabit Broadband Network Access Fund, which is a fund administered by the ConnectME Authority to address the need in Maine to access ultra high-speed broadband infrastructure through the provision of grants to communities, regional partnerships and municipalities to support a municipal gigabit fiber-optic broadband network. This bill makes the following changes to the fund: 1. It limits the grants to a municipality or group of municipalities; 2. It provides definitions of "gigabit fiber-optic network," "symmetrical high-speed internet" and "open-access network" and requires the authority, beginning in 2025, to establish minimum upload and download speeds for a symmetrical high-speed internet at least equal to the minimum upload and download speeds available to a majority of urban census blocks in the United States; It removes the cap on the amount of the grant, but limits the amount of ConnectME funds that may be used to 50% of the total cost of a project; 4. It maintains the requirement that a municipality provide at least a 25% cash match but provides that the cash match may not consist of funds from a source other than the municipality; and It removes specific reporting requirements for applicants, instead requiring them to meet application requirements established by the authority.

Funding and Governance

Maine

LD 1484, Special Session

This bill amends the laws governing the ConnectME Authority as follows. 1. It reorganizes the authority as a nonprofit organization with oversight provided by a board of directors. 2. It clarifies the liability of officers, directors and employees of the authority as well as conflicts of interest for such individuals. 3. It authorizes the authority to acquire and hold securities, issue bonds, acquire and hold equity investments and enter into agreements or contracts with public and private entities. 4. It requires as a condition of receipt of a grant, direct investment or loan from the authority that the recipient's performance be subject to audit and that the amount or a portion of the amount of the grant, investment or loan be returned to the authority if the recipient fails to comply with a material term of the agreement or contract governing the grant, investment or loan. 5. It requires the authority to submit to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over utilities matters no later than Jan. 15, 2030, a proposal, along with any necessary implementing legislation, designed to facilitate the termination and repeal of the authority by Jan. 15, 2032. 6. It alters the Municipal Gigabit Broadband Network Access Fund in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 35-A, §9211-A to authorize the authority to offer loans to and make direct equity investments in any public or private entity using a proposal solicitation process. 7. It includes provisions governing the transition from the current organization of the ConnectME Authority to the reorganized ConnectME Authority.

Funding, Governance and High Speed

Maryland

HB 43

Alters the uses of the Rural Broadband Assistance Fund; establishes the Office of Broadband in the Department of Information Technology to assist local jurisdictions in improving access to high-speed internet; requires the Office to coordinate with certain executive branch agencies and stakeholders; establishes the Joint Committee on Broadband to ensure that local jurisdictions in the state are able to expand access to high-speed internet and make recommendations for new laws, programs, and services needed to support the expansion; etc.

Funding, Governance and High Speed

Maryland

HB 97
Passed both houses 4/10/21
SB 66
Signed by governor 4/13/21, Chapter 74

Establishes the Office of Digital Inclusion in the Department of Housing and Community Development to ensure that every resident of the state is supported by high-quality broadband internet service at an affordable price, and has the tools necessary to use and take advantage of the internet; requires the governor to appoint the director of the Office; requires the Office to develop, by July 1, 2022, a statewide plan to ensure all state residents have the ability to connect to reliable broadband internet by Dec. 31, 2029; etc.

Governance, Mapping and Rural and Underserved

Maryland

HB 1168

Exempts certain personal property from the Calvert County property tax; provides that certain personal property remains subject to the Calvert County property tax, including the operating personal property of a railroad or public utility and certain property used to provide cable television, data, or telecommunication services; provides that certain personal property subject to a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement is subject to the Calvert County property tax on the termination of the agreement; etc.

Taxes

Maryland

HB 1328
Passed both houses 4/9/21
SB 824
Passed both houses 4/8/21

Declares certain findings and the intent of the General Assembly; renames the Rural Broadband Assistance Fund to be the Maryland Digital Connectivity Fund; alters the purpose of the Fund to include expansion of affordable broadband services; provides that the Fund consists of certain fees; alters the use of the Fund to include providing certain financial assistance to authorities to expand high-speed internet access in certain areas of the state; authorizes a county or municipal corporation to adopt certain policies; etc.

Funding, Infrastructure, High Speed and Rural and Underserved

Massachusetts

HB 105

Requires public schools to prioritize replacement of wireless broadband and telecommunications connectivity in favor of hard-wired access.

Education and Schools and Infrastructure

Massachusetts

HB 112

Relates to hard-wiring state offices and investing in hard-wired communications.

Infrastructure

Massachusetts

HB 113

Requires wireless insurance.

 

Massachusetts

HB 115

Relates to the purchase and installation of wireless internet service in schools and public institutions of higher education.

Education and Schools

Massachusetts

HB 120

Relates to internet speed during the Coronavirus 2019 outbreak.

High Speed

Massachusetts

HB 121

Establishes a special commission to study and report on the feasibility of establishing community broadband networks to allow municipalities to offer their own competitive broadband internet services.

Municipal

Massachusetts

HB 128

Relates to the state of the advanced telecommunications broadband industry.

Governance

Massachusetts

HB 130

Establishes a comprehensive statewide policy concerning streaming entertainment services and the recovery of municipal costs for the management and maintenance of digital infrastructure.

Infrastructure

Massachusetts

HB 131

Relates to establishing within the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development a digital equity broadband adoption program.

Rural and Underserved

Massachusetts

HB 137

Provides for an investigation by the Department of Public Health of broadband internet access and its relation to the public health objectives.

Rural and Underserved

Massachusetts

HB 139

Relates to protecting internet access during the Coronavirus 2019 pandemic.

Consumer Relations

Massachusetts

HB 141

Relates to regulating broadband internet rate increases, speed and access across the Commonwealth.

Consumer Relations and Governance

Massachusetts

HB 143

Relates to the installation of internet services for abutting owners on private ways.

Infrastructure

Massachusetts

HB 637

Relates to the best methods of acquiring technology for students.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

Massachusetts

HB 1101

Relates to telehealth healthcare coverage and digital equity for patients.

Rural and Underserved

Massachusetts

HB 2907

Creates a tax credit for remote learning expenses.

Education and Schools and Taxes

Massachusetts

HB 3256

Relates to municipal access to utility poles located in municipal rights-of-way.

Infrastructure

Massachusetts

HB 3258

Relates to utility poles, wires or attachments and municipal authority in public rights of ways.

Infrastructure

Massachusetts

SB 45

Protects internet access during the Coronavirus 2019 pandemic.

Consumer Relations

Massachusetts

SB 49

Relates to the establishment of a special commission relates to the promotion of a Massachusetts broadband competitive marketplace.

Governance

Massachusetts

SB 52

Removes barriers to internet regulation, competition and affordability.

Consumer Relations and Governance

Massachusetts

SB 56

Ensures accessible and reliable internet service to promote public safety.

Consumer Relations

Massachusetts

SB 57

Creates the Massachusetts digital equity broadband adoption program.

Rural and Underserved

Massachusetts

SB 58

Promotes universal access to broadband internet.

Governance and Rural and Underserved

Massachusetts

SB 231

Prohibits certain termination and cancellation fees; relates to telephone and utility bills.

Consumer Relations

Massachusetts

SB 678

Relates to telehealth and digital equity for patients.

Rural and Underserved

Massachusetts

SB 1997

Creates a tax deduction for remote learning.

Education and Schools and Taxes

Massachusetts

SB 2137

Protects broadband access in the Commonwealth.

Consumer Relations

Massachusetts

SB 2195

Relates to wifi and cellular infrastructure along rail lines.

Infrastructure

Massachusetts

SB 2200

Establishes a comprehensive statewide policy concerning streaming entertainment services and the recovery of municipal costs for the management and maintenance of digital infrastructure.

Infrastructure

Michigan

HB 4209

Exempts eligible broadband equipment from personal property tax.

Taxes

Michigan

HB 4210
Vetoed by governor 4/14/21

The bill amends Public Act 282 of 1905, which provides for the assessment of property owned, operated, or conducted by certain companies, to exempt from taxation under the Act eligible broadband equipment that was exempt from the collection of general ad valorem property taxes under the General Property Tax Act.

Taxes

Michigan

HB 4230

Exempts eligible telecommunications, video, broadband, and similar equipment from sales tax.

Taxes

Michigan

HB 4231

Exempts eligible telecommunications, video, broadband, and similar equipment from use tax.

Taxes

Michigan

SB 46
To House for concurrence 3/25/21

The bill amends the General Property Tax Act to exempt from the collection of taxes under the Act eligible broadband equipment that resolved lack of broadband service by delivering high-speed internet access at speeds of at least 25 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and three Mbps upstream, beginning Dec. 31, 2020.

Taxes

Minnesota

HF 1
SF 474

Provides assistance for housing, the Minnesota family investment program, food, and broadband; appropriates and transfers money.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

Minnesota

HF 12
SF 491

Amends certain eviction procedures during and after a public health emergency; allows for expungement of certain eviction actions filed during and after a public health emergency; prevents home foreclosure during and after a public health emergency; appropriates money for emergency housing assistance grants during the peacetime emergency related to COVID-19. Includes internet in emergency housing assistance grants.

Rural and Underserved

Minnesota

HF 14
SF 22

Transfers money for deposit in the broadband grant program.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

Minnesota

HF 686
SF 1304

Allows existing easements held by rural electric cooperatives to be used to provide broadband service.

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Minnesota

HF 1885
SF 946

Relates to telecommunications; transfers money for the broadband grant program.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

Minnesota

HF 2165
SF 1186

Relates to broadband; appropriates money to the broadband grant program; amends Minnesota Statutes 2020, §116J.397.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

Minnesota

HF 2194
SF 945

Relates to telecommunications; transfers money for the broadband grant program.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

Minnesota

HF 2364

Relates to consumer protection; requires residential internet service contracts to be prorated; proposes coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 325F.

Consumer Relations

Minnesota

SF 241

Establishes a funding program for distance learning equipment; requires a report; appropriates money.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

Minnesota

SF 351

Provides distance learning aid for families; appropriates money.

Education and Schools, Funding and Rural and Underserved

Minnesota

SF 1536

Relates to broadband grants; allows broadband grants to be used for fixed wireless broadband and clarifies broadband mapping requirements; amends Minnesota Statutes 2020, §116J.394; 116J.397.

Funding, Infrastructure, Mapping and Rural and Underserved

Mississippi

HB 86
Died in committee 2/2/21

Provides for certain participation of investor owned electric utilities in the expansion of broadband services in the state of Mississippi; amends §77-3-2 to declare that it is the policy of the state of Mississippi to support expansion of existing and emerging technologies to foster reliable and resilient service and customer access to enhanced services; amends §77-3-3 to include definitions of "broadband service provider," "broadband operator," "electric delivery system" and "enhanced grid investments"; and amends §77-3-44 to include fiber-optic infrastructure and enhanced grid investments as an economic development activity, to allow investor-owned electric utilities to permit broadband providers use of the electric delivery system to provide broadband services, to regulate easements, to allow certain entities to construct fiber-optic infrastructure on public utilities' existing rights-of-way.

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Mississippi

HB 165
Died in committee 2/2/21

Requires each school district to develop and implement a wireless technology infrastructure to serve all the schools and classrooms in the district; requires the districts to develop a strategic plan to provide for a two-year phase-in period for complete implementation; requires districts to conduct thorough needs assessments to determine existing ability and network capacity and recommendations for future network traffic; requires school districts to issue and publicize requests for proposals within 45 days of the needs assessment's conclusion which specifies the criteria to be included in proposals submitted for the installation and service of wireless systems; requires school districts to submit their strategic plan of development and implementation to the state department of education, which shall determine whether the wireless classroom module proposed is functional according to the guidelines established by the department for the approval or disapproval of proposed wireless technology infrastructure; prescribes the criteria and ability of a school district's wireless capability required to be demonstrated to the state department of education for eligibility to receive state funds for wireless technology infrastructure serving grades k-12; and for related purposes.

Education and Schools, Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Mississippi

HB 322
Died in committee 2/24/21

Establishes a grant program for the purpose of making grants to assist businesses in paying costs associated with providing and expanding cellular and broadband access and coverage in rural counties and rural municipalities; provides that the Mississippi development authority shall administer the grant program created in this act; creates a special fund in the state treasury, designated as the "rural counties and municipalities cellular and broadband fund"; authorizes the issuance of $15 million of state general obligation bonds to provide funds for the "rural counties and municipalities cellular and broadband fund"; and for related purposes.

Funding, Governance and Rural and Underserved

Mississippi

HB 505
Passed House 2/9/21

Creates the Mississippi broadband accessibility act; provides legislative findings; provides definitions for the act; requires the director of Mississippi public utilities staff to establish and administer the broadband accessibility grant program for the purpose of promoting the deployment and adoption of broadband internet access services to unserved areas; provides that the program shall be administered pursuant to policies developed by the public utilities staff, subject to the requirements of the act, which shall provide for the awarding of grants to non-governmental entities that are cooperatives, corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, or other private business entities that provide broadband services; and for related purposes.

Funding, Governance and Rural and Underserved

Mississippi

HB 942
Passed House 2/9/21

Amends §77-3-2 to declare that it is the policy of the state of Mississippi to support deployment of existing and emerging technologies to foster reliable and resilient service and customer access to enhanced services; provides that the public service commission is authorized and empowered to enter into contracts with federal agencies, including, but not limited to, the U.S. department of commerce, the federal communications commission and the national telecommunications information agency, or state agencies, for the purposes only of providing services for the collection of data for mapping of broadband availability; amends §77-3-3 to include definitions of "broadband service provider," "broadband operator," "electric delivery system" and "enhanced grid investments"; amends §77-3-44 to include fiber-optic infrastructure and enhanced grid investments as an economic development activity, to allow rate-regulated electric utilities to permit broadband providers use of the electric delivery system to provide broadband services, to regulate easements, to allow certain entities to construct fiber-optic infrastructure on public utilities' existing rights-of-way; and for related purposes.

Infrastructure, Mapping and Rural and Underserved

Mississippi

HB 1134
Died in committee 2/2/21

Amends §77-17-15 to revise the broadband enabling act to require electric cooperatives to annually file certain documents with the public service commission and the state auditor; brings forward §§77-17-3 through 77-17-13 for purposes of possible amendment; and for related purposes.

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Mississippi

SB 2531
Died in committee 2/2/21

Creates the "T Initiative of 2021"; provides that the department of education shall develop and implement a program to provide additional resources to students for virtual learning; to provide that the department shall provide schools with access to high-speed broadband internet in rural critical internet shortage areas; implements a program to track and monitor student's progress during the COVID-19 pandemic; provides that the department of education shall assist schools in providing tutoring for students in virtual learning; and for related purposes.

Education and Schools, High Speed and Rural and Underserved

Mississippi

SB 2532
Died in committee 2/2/21

Creates the expand Mississippi connectivity for education act; provides that the department of education shall develop a program with the goal to increase internet connectivity to students and schools; provides that the department shall identify schools and school districts that lack basic internet connectivity; provides that the department shall provide funds to those schools and school districts that are rated as having critical connectivity problems before allocating other funds; and for related purposes.

Education and Schools, Funding and Rural and Underserved

Mississippi

SB 2559
Passed Senate 2/3/21

Authorizes the public service commission to enter into contracts and agreements with federal agencies including, but not limited to, the U.S. department of commerce, the federal communications commission or the national telecommunications information agency, for the purposes of providing services for the collection of data and mapping of broadband availability; and for related purposes.

Mapping

Mississippi

SB 2798
Sent to governor 4/5/21

Provides for certain participation of rate-regulated electric utilities in the expansion of broadband services in the state of Mississippi; amends §77-3-2 to declare that it is the policy of the state of Mississippi to support expansion of existing and emerging technologies to foster reliable and resilient service and customer access to enhanced services; amends §77-3-3 to include definitions of "broadband service provider," "broadband operator" and "electric delivery system"; amends § 77-3-44 to include fiber-optic infrastructure as an economic development activity, to allow rate-regulated electric utilities to permit broadband providers use of the electric delivery system to provide broadband services, to regulate easements, to allow certain entities to construct fiber-optic infrastructure on public utilities' existing rights-of-way; and for related purposes.

 

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Missouri

HB 321

This bill establishes the "Electrical Corporation Broadband Authorization Act", which authorizes an electrical corporation to: (1) Own, construct, install, maintain, repair, and replace broadband infrastructure; (2) Operate the corporation's broadband infrastructure for or in connection with providing electrical service; (3) Engage in broadband operation or permit broadband affiliates to engage in broadband operations using the corporation's infrastructure; (4) Provide broadband services or permit broadband affiliates to provide broadband services using the corporation's infrastructure; and (5) Enter into contracts, leases, licenses or other agreements concerning broadband operations or services with broadband affiliates, customers, or third parties on any terms and conditions at the sole discretion of the corporation without securing authorization, permission, or approval from the Public Service Commission. When determining the revenue requirement used to set the electrical corporation's base rates in a general rate proceeding, the Commission must include the corporation's test year broadband operations and services revenues and its prudently-incurred investment in broadband infrastructure. Any ordinance adopted by a municipal or county government that allows the corporation to install and maintain infrastructure for supplying electricity also must grant the right to install and maintain broadband infrastructure, either directly or through broadband affiliates. The bill also specifies that any cause of action for inverse condemnation or trespass brought against certain utility companies shall be commenced within two years after the cause of action shall have accrued, and no statute of limitations shall extend the period for commencing the action. If the plaintiff prevails in a cause of action for inverse condemnation, then the damage or taking shall be deemed permanent, the injury to the plaintiff shall not be deemed to continue, accumulate or accrue, and the damages shall be fixed and determined as of the date the cause of action accrued. In a cause of action for trespass, a defendant shall be entitled to a determination by the court as to whether the use by defendant or its assignees, alleged by plaintiff to be an expanded use or to exceed the scope of defendant's easement rights, is a public use. No cause of action for trespass or inverse condemnation may be brought as an action on behalf of a class. In a cause of action for trespass or inverse condemnation, the following shall not be admissible in evidence for purposes of determining plaintiffs damages or any other purposes: (1) Profits, fees, or revenue derived by the defendant from uses of the easement; and (2) The rental value of the real property or of the easement, including the rental value of an assembled utility corridor of any type.

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Missouri

HB 580

This bill requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to submit an annual report to the General Assembly

beginning on June 30, 2022. The report will indicate the number of elementary and secondary students who reside in a residence with limited or no access to the internet. The report shall indicate the total number of pupils statewide and by school district.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

Missouri

HB 735

This bill authorizes two or more political subdivisions, upon a vote of eligible voters, to form a broadband infrastructure improvement district for the delivery of broadband internet service to their residents. A district has the power to contract with a broadband internet service provider to provide broadband internet service to the residents of the district. A district may finance the provision or expansion of broadband internet service through grants, loans, bonds, or user fees. The bill also establishes the composition and operation of the District Governing Board. Additional political subdivisions may join a district upon application to the Governing Board. If the Board offers admission to the district, it must specify all terms and conditions upon which admission is predicated. A political subdivision may withdraw from a district in the same manner.

Municipal

Missouri

HB 774

This bill requires the Department of Economic Development to implement a program to increase high-speed internet access in underserved areas of the state. The Department may use discretion in choosing the method of the program but must provide high-speed internet to as many residents who do not have high-speed internet access as quickly as possible, with preference given to those who have no internet access. The Department may provide the high-speed internet access itself or contract with an entity to do so.

Governance, High Speed and Rural and Underserved

Missouri

HB 1160

This bill establishes the "21st Century Missouri Broadband Deployment Task Force." The membership of the Task Force includes: three members of the House of Representatives with two members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and one appointed by the Minority Leader, three members of the Senate with two appointed by the President Pro Tem of the Senate and one appointed by the Minority Leader, and 18 representing various interested parties. The duties of the Task Force are to evaluate the status of broadband deployment in the state, evaluate the deployment process, and make recommendations about how to best increase broadband internet deployment to certain residents. The Task Force will make recommendations for legislation as well as submit a report outlining a summary of Task Force activities to the General Assembly before Aug. 28, 2022. The Task Force will suspend operations on Jan. 1, 2023, and reconvene Jan. 1, 2024, to provide updates and review recommendations to be presented by Aug. 28, 2024.

Governance

Missouri

HB 1378

This bill authorizes two or more partnering entities to form a broadband infrastructure improvement district for the delivery of broadband internet service to their residents. A district has the power to contract with a broadband internet service provider to provide broadband Internet service to the residents of the district. If the partnering entities are all municipalities, the proposal must be approved by a majority of qualified voters in each municipality. A district may finance the provision or expansion of broadband internet service through grants, loans, bonds, or user fees. The bill also establishes the composition and operation of the District Governing Board. Additional municipalities may join a district upon application to the Governing Board. If the Board offers admission to the district, it must specify all terms and conditions upon which admission is predicated. A municipality may withdraw from a district in the same manner. If the partnering entities include a municipal utility, electric cooperative, or a public utility, the entities may enter into a broadband infrastructure partnership. Partnering entities may provide broadband internet service within the corporate limits or service territories of any partner and withing a two-mile radius of the corporate limits or service territory if 70% of the area does not have broadband service otherwise. A partnership may finance the provision or expansion of broadband internet service through grants, loans, bonds, user fees, or any other methods that does not negatively impact the cost of service provided to the partnering entities residents, customers, or rate-payers.

Municipal

Missouri

HB 1384

This bill establishes the "Broadband Enhancement Council" consisting of 30 members including members from certain state agencies, members of the general public representing certain classifications of broadband users, and two members each from the Senate appointed by the President Pro Tem and the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker to serve as ex officio members. The public members of the Council will be appointed by the governor and serve terms as specified in the bill. The Council has the duties as set in the bill including to explore ways to expand access to broadband services; explore the potential for increased use of broadband for education, career readiness, workforce preparation and alternative career training; explore ways to encourage state and municipal agencies to expand service to better serve the public through the use of streaming, voice over internet protocol, teleconferencing, and wireless networking; making recommendations to the General Assembly regarding strategies to make broadband available to certain communities and statutory changes needed to enhance broadband access in the state. The Council must submit a report to the General Assembly and the Governor on or before Jan. 1 of each year summarizing the actions of the Council the previous year. The bill specifies the powers of the Council. The Council must establish a mapping of broadband services in the state based on analysis of data, demand, and other relevant information and publish an interactive public map that provides certain information based on information received by the Council from specified data sources. Any entity that receives state or federal funds to install infrastructure for broadband services must provide information to the Council concerning the location, type and extent of the infrastructure.

Governance and Mapping

Missouri

SB 108
Passed Senate 3/25/21

This act creates provisions relating to telecommunications. Under the act, the state or any other political subdivision shall not impose any new tax, license, or fee in addition to any tax, license, or fee already authorized on or before Aug. 28, 2021, upon the provision of satellite or streaming video service. This act allows two or more municipalities to form a broadband infrastructure improvement district for the delivery of broadband internet service to the residents of such municipalities. A district created under the act shall have to power partner with a telecommunications company or broadband service provider in order to construct or improve telecommunications facilities as set forth in the act. A district may finance the provision or expansion of broadband internet service through grants, loans, bonds, user fees, or a sales tax, not to exceed one percent. The act also sets forth the composition and operation of the district governing board.

Municipal and Taxes

Missouri

SB 184

This act creates the Electrical Corporation Broadband Authorization Act, which allows broadband services providers, as defined in the act, to utilize certain electrical corporation broadband infrastructure to provide broadband services, as such term is defined in the act. The act modifies the definition of "electric plant" to include broadband infrastructure operated, controlled, owned, used or to be used for or in connection with or to facilitate the provision of electric service, broadband operations, or broadband service. The act also creates several definitions relating to broadband. An electrical corporation shall not provide broadband services to end-use customers. As described in the act, an electrical corporation's investment in such broadband infrastructure shall be included in the electrical corporation's rate base used to set the revenue requirement upon which the electrical corporation's base rates are set. The Public Service Commission shall not have jurisdiction over the terms, conditions, charges, contracts, leases, licenses, or other agreements of an electrical corporation for the corporation's broadband operations or provision of broadband services through a broadband services provider. The rates and charges that an electrical corporation assess upon a broadband services provider shall be standardized for all such providers. Finally, the act allows an electrical corporation to condemn land for the purpose of constructing broadband infrastructure.

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Missouri

SB 570

This act allows two or more partnering entities, as defined in the act, to form a broadband infrastructure improvement district or partnership for the delivery of broadband internet service to the residents of such municipalities or service area. A district composed wholly of partnering entities that are municipalities may finance the provision or expansion of broadband internet service through grants, loans, bonds, user fees, or a sales tax, not to exceed one percent. The act also sets forth the composition and operation of the district governing board. If any of the partnering entities include a municipal utility, electric cooperative, or public utility, different procedures shall be followed as set forth in the act.

Municipal

Missouri

SB 611

Under current law, broadband and other internet protocol-enabled services are exempted from rules and regulations of the Public Service Commission. This act repeals such provision. Additionally, the act requires the Commission to promulgate rules for the regulation of broadband and internet protocol-enabled services and to submit an annual report to the General Assembly on the progress of broadband development across the state, which shall include certain information set forth in the act.

Governance

Montana

HB 181
Passed House 3/24/21

Temporarily redirects and statutorily appropriates technology funding to e-rate broadband matching funds.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

Montana

HB 422
Missed deadline for general bill transmittal 3/2/21

Allows municipalities to own and operate municipal broadband systems under certain circumstances; allows a political subdivision to invest in broadband infrastructure.

Municipal

Montana

HB 494
Sent to governor 4/9/21

Revises transportation construction law; provides for collaborative broadband installation; and provides rulemaking authority.

Infrastructure

Montana

HB 657
Missed deadline for general bill transmittal 4/8/21

Provides a revolving loan fund to finance rural broadband deployment; provides American Rescue Plan Act money be deposited in the account; provides for a Montana broadband coordinator; provides duties; provides an appropriation.

Funding, Governance and Rural and Underserved

Montana

HB 673
Missed deadline for general bill transmittal 4/8/21

Provides for a Montana broadband coordinator; provides duties; provides an appropriation.

Governance

Montana

SB 51
Passed Senate 2/25/21

Concerns exempting certain fiber optic, coaxial cable from property taxation; relates to appropriations; relates to local revenue; relates to state revenue; relates to taxation; relates to taxation of property.

Taxes

Montana

SB 297
Passed Senate 3/15/21

Provides for broadband infrastructure deployment laws; establishes the Montana broadband infrastructure account; establishes the Montana broadband deployment grant program; provides an application process; and provides definitions.

Funding, Governance and Rural and Underserved

Montana

SB 392
Passed Senate 4/7/21

Provides for the grant of right-of-way by the Montana department of transportation for certain eligible projects along interstate highways; establishes criteria; sets timelines for department review; requires an applicant to pay the department certain fees; grants the department rulemaking authority.

Infrastructure

Nebraska

LB 338

Provides powers and duties for the Public Service Commission regarding redirection of funding for broadband services.

Funding, Governance and Rural and Underserved

Nebraska

LB 388

Adopts the Nebraska Broadband Bridge Act.

Funding, Governance and Rural and Underserved

Nebraska

LB 398

Changes provisions relating to broadband speeds and services.

Funding, Governance, High Speed and Rural and Underserved

Nebraska

LB 455

Adopts the Broadband Pole Attachment Act.

Governance and Infrastructure

Nebraska

LB 456

Adopts the Nebraska Enhancing Broadband Act.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

Nebraska

LB 460

Authorizes leasing of dark fiber and eliminate certain powers of the Public Service Commission.

Governance and Infrastructure

Nebraska

LB 498

Requires the Public Service Commission to implement a broadband service testing and mapping program.

Mapping

Nebraska

LB 520

Provides for applications for the collocation of certain wireless facilities.

Infrastructure

Nebraska

LB 600

Provides and changes powers and duties of public power districts and electric cooperatives regarding broadband facilities and infrastructure.

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Nebraska

LB 604

Adopts the Nebraska Accelerated Broadband Deployment Grant Program Act and change telecommunications provisions.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

Nebraska

LB 656

Authorizes municipalities to provide broadband and internet services.

Municipal

Nevada

AB 377

Relates to telecommunication service; requires the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada to establish a program to assist certain persons with low income in obtaining access to broadband services; establishes certain requirements for the program; provides for reimbursements to certain providers of telephone services for the reduction in rates for telephone services under certain circumstances; provides other matters properly relating thereto.

Rural and Underserved

Nevada

AB 388

Relates to telecommunication service; requires the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada to establish a program to assist certain persons with low income in obtaining access to broadband services; establishes certain requirements for the program; provides for reimbursements to certain providers of telephone services for the reduction in rates for telephone services under certain circumstances; provides other matters properly relating thereto.

Rural and Underserved

Nevada

SB 277

Relates to buildings; requires the governing body of a county or city to adopt an ordinance requiring certain structures to incorporate equipment necessary to provide broadband service to the structure; provides other matters properly relating thereto.

Infrastructure

New Hampshire

HB 153

This bill establishes a committee to study universal internet access for New Hampshire.

Governance and Rural and Underserved

New Hampshire

HB 308

This bill provides for payment of pole replacement costs when necessary to accommodate the provisioning of broadband internet services.

Infrastructure

New Hampshire

HB 477
Failed to pass House 4/7/21

This bill establishes consumer protection provisions for customers of internet service providers for service outages and less than advertised download speeds.

Consumer Relations

New Hampshire

SB 85
Passed Senate 3/25/21

This bill establishes the broadband matching grant initiative and fund in the office of strategic initiatives.

Funding, Governance and High Speed

New Hampshire

SB 88
Passed Senate 3/18/21

This bill adopts legislation relative to: I. The creation of communications district planning committees. II. Public utility regulation of utility pole attachments. III. The issuance of bonds for financing broadband infrastructure.

Funding, Governance, Infrastructure and Municipal

New Jersey

AB 182

Requires public utilities and cable television companies to accommodate and relocate facilities when necessary for transportation infrastructure projects at direction of the Department of Transportation.

Infrastructure

New Jersey

AB 185
SB 1458
Passed Senate 7/30/20

Expands the Economic Development Authority’s small business loan program to include certain broadband telecommunications service providers.

Funding

New Jersey

AB 186
SB 1414

Directs the Board of Public Utilities to allow broadband telecommunications service providers to use poles belonging to public utilities or cable television companies in certain instances.

Infrastructure

New Jersey

AB 188

Allows local units to offer broadband telecommunications service under certain circumstances.

Municipal

New Jersey

AB 232

Provides corporation business tax credit for certain investment in broadband infrastructure in underserved communities.

Infrastructure, Rural and Underserved and Taxes

New Jersey

AB 850
Passed both houses 3/25/21
SB 2864
Substituted 1/28/21

Establishes Community Broadband Study Commission.

Governance and Municipal

New Jersey

AB 1416

Requires public utilities and cable television companies to accommodate and relocate facilities and pay costs thereof when necessary for infrastructure projects.

Infrastructure

New Jersey

AB 1510

Requires cable television companies to provide faster internet access speed to certain customers.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

New Jersey

AB 1725

Requires certain telecommunications, cable television, and public utility service providers to notify public entities of service discontinuance a certain number of business days in advance of a shutoff.

Consumer Relations

New Jersey

AB 2118

Requires telecommunications, cable television, and internet service providers to allow service recipients to terminate service agreements following a physician's referral to a long-term care facility.

Consumer Relations

New Jersey

AB 2584

Requires certain community access television companies to provide internet service at public libraries with business customer class internet access bandwidth and circuit capacity proportional to public libraries' needs.

High Speed

New Jersey

AB 2586
SB 1656

Requires community access television companies to provide free broadband internet service and associated equipment to public libraries and, under certain circumstances, other municipal buildings.

 

New Jersey

AB 3649
SB 2900

Requires Office of Information Technology to establish a statewide wireless network through public private partnership agreement.

Municipal

New Jersey

AB 4065

This bill clarifies the application of the business personal property tax on local exchange telephone companies that were subject to the tax as of April 1, 1997. This bill clarifies the changes made in 1997 to the business personal property tax that defined local exchange telephone companies that were subject to that tax as of April 1, 1997. The Tax Court in Verizon New Jersey Inc. v. Hopewell Borough, which was decided on June 26, 2012, has incorrectly construed the plain meaning of the language of the statutory change made in 1997. That statutory change was intended to grandfather into the local property tax base the business personal property of all incumbent local exchange companies that were then subject to that tax and were a telecommunications carrier then meeting the one time definition, not an annual redefinition, of providing dial tone and access to 51% of a local telephone exchange. Local exchange telephone companies have taken advantage of the incorrect interpretation of the statute and has informed 65 municipalities that it will no longer pay tax on its business personal property, such as equipment, utility poles, cables and more in any given municipality where it claims on an annual basis that it does not provide 51% or more of landline service to its residents. This unintended erosion of the local property tax base will impact all other local property taxpayers in these and possibly more municipalities. This bill will restore the intended local property tax status quo intended to be determined in 1997. This bill also imposes the business personal property tax on the business personal property of wireless telephone companies. That business personal property would include small cell network nodes, which are low-powered radio access nodes that generally consist of small radios and antennas that are two or three feet long and placed on existing and new utility poles, street lights, signs, and signal light poles with the purpose of increasing the capacity of wireless network service.

Taxes

New Jersey

AB 4133
SB 2415

Establishes the School Connectivity Grant Program to expand access to online instruction for economically disadvantaged students; makes appropriation.

Education and Schools, Funding and Rural and Underserved

New Jersey

AB 4415
SB 2603

Requires the Department of Education (DOE) to provide funds to school districts for acquisition of technology devices to address digital divide and requires districts to reimburse DOE from available federal funds.

Education and Schools, Funding and Rural and Underserved

New Jersey

AB 4627
SB 2947

Establishes Digital Divide Solutions Grant Program in the Department of Education to assist public schools in purchase of online instruction equipment.

Education and Schools, Funding and Rural and Underserved

New Jersey

AB 4662
SB 2899

Establishes Safe Remote Learning Program in the Department of Education to support provision of remote instruction facilities by public schools.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

New Jersey

AB 4789
SB 3123

Establishes Safe and Equitable Remote Learning Program in the Department of Education to support provision of mobile broadband internet access service and remote learning safe havens by certain school districts.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

New Jersey

AB 4808
Passed Assembly 10/29/20
SB 3086

Establishes office in Board of Public Utilities to assist in provision and expansion of broadband internet service in state to address inequities in accessing broadband service.

Governance and Rural and Underserved

New Jersey

AB 5156
SB 3299

Appropriates $50 million to the Board of Public Utilities from federal funds for reimbursing broadband telecommunications service providers for broadband infrastructure expansion to rural areas in state.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

New Jersey

AB 5352
SB 3410

Prohibits internet service providers from increasing service rates during public health emergency or state of emergency; requires internet service providers to notify subscribers six months in advance of service rate increase.

Consumer Relations

New Jersey

AB 5432
AB 3609

Establishes Digital Divide Solutions Grant Program in the Department of Education to assist public schools in purchase of connected devices and internet access for students during periods of remote instruction.

Education and Schools, Funding and Rural and Underserved

New Jersey

AB 5511
SB 3553

Makes Fiscal Year 2021 supplemental appropriation of $1.5 million to the Board of Public Utilities for certain broadband telecommunications service subscriber assistance.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

New Jersey

ACR 13
SCR 70

Urges the Board of Public Utilities to investigate broadband internet and landline telephone services in the state's rural communities; urges the state Board of Agriculture and Department of Agriculture to explore ways these services can be brought to the state's rural communities.

Governance and Rural and Underserved

New Jersey

AR 92
Adopted 10/29/20
SR 98

Urges Congress to pass Community Broadband Act.

Municipal

New Mexico

HB 10
Signed by governor 4/7/21, Chapter 120

Enacts the Connect New Mexico Act; creates the Connect New Mexico Council; establishes duties; establishes the Connect New Mexico Council as a co-coordinator of state broadband programs with the department of information technology or a state broadband planning entity established by other law; establishes the Connect New Mexico Fund; provides for grants; requires reports; raises the levels of disbursement for broadband from the state rural universal service fund.

Education and Schools, Funding, Governance and Rural and Underserved

New Mexico

HB 86

Makes an appropriation to the Indian Affairs department for library, internet access and educational resource center projects for Indian nations, tribes and pueblos.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

New Mexico

HB 169

Amends the local economic development act; includes construction or upgrades to facilitate the use of water-efficient or clean energy technologies or to meet or exceed green building certification standards in the definition of "economic development project"; includes an entity that develops water or broadband infrastructure in the definition of "qualifying entity."

Infrastructure

New Mexico

HB 233

Requires the public education department to assist school districts in providing internet access to teachers statewide; provides requirements to receive funds; provides exceptions.

Education and Schools, Funding and Rural and Underserved

New Mexico

HB 280

Makes an appropriation to provide reimbursement to low-income parents for school expenses for students having to attend public school remotely; declares an emergency.

 

Education and Schools, Funding and Rural and Underserved

New Mexico

HJR 9
Passed House 2/24/21

Proposes to amend article 9, §14 of the constitution of New Mexico to allow public assistance in the development of infrastructure that allows essential household electric, internet, natural gas, water, wastewater and other service connections to domiciles upon the enactment by a majority vote of the members elected to each house of the legislature of implementing legislation.

 

Rural and Underserved

New Mexico

HM 19

Requests the public education department to assist school districts in providing internet access to teachers statewide.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

New Mexico

SB 24

Requires the adoption of rules to reduce and promote the parity of regulation for the telecommunications industry and encourage a broadband-focused competitive telecommunications market; prohibits individual contracts for telecommunications services to be offered on materially different terms to similarly situated customers without certain permissions; changes a measure for the calculation of a presumption of effective competition for regulated telecommunication services; replaces the application process for individual service contracting with a two-year requirement to retain such contracts on file; adds information to be included in the triennial reporting by the public regulation commission; repeals §63-9A-2.

Governance

New Mexico

SB 93
Signed by governor 4/7/21, Chapter 123

Enacts the broadband access and expansion act; establishes the office of broadband access and expansion; provides powers and duties.

Governance

New Mexico

SB 144
Signed by governor 4/5/21, Chapter 49

Amends the definition of "education technology infrastructure" in the public school capital outlay act to include the interconnection between students and teachers to support remote learning; requires the public school capital outlay council to establish guidelines to fund education technology infrastructure to ensure that those expenditures are in accord with the development of a statewide education technology infrastructure network; declares an emergency.

 

Education and Schools, Funding and Rural and Underserved

New Mexico

SB 204
Signed by governor 4/7/21, Chapter 118

Amends the rural telecommunications act of New Mexico to make access to the state rural universal service fund for telecommunications carriers established after enactment of that act comparable to the access for telecommunications carriers established prior to enactment of that act; provides definitions.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

New Mexico

SB 360

Enacts the utility easements for broadband act; authorizes the use and sharing of utility easements for the provision of communications service throughout the state; requires notice of use of utility easements to the property owner; provides for optional recording of such notice; establishes claims pursuant to the use of utility easements; allows cost recovery for communications infrastructure projects; provides definitions.

 

Infrastructure

New Mexico

SB 361

Amends the rural telecommunications act of New Mexico; provides for the use of the state rural universal service fund for consumer broadband[1]only loops; provides definitions.

 

Funding and Rural and Underserved

New Mexico

SB 366

Requires the evaluation of high altitude and satellite technologies; provides for the recommendation of a preferred technology; provides for leases and contracts for broadband platforms and the provision of services; makes an appropriation.

Infrastructure

New Mexico

SB 413

Enacts the regional broadband franchise act; provides for the establishment of regional broadband franchises by public agencies through partnership agreements; provides powers; provides revenue bonds; requires audits; provides penalties.

 

Funding and Infrastructure

New York

AB 712
SB 5389

Provides that all equipment used for the transmission and switching of radio signals for the provision of commercial mobile radio service or mobile internet access service no longer constitutes real property subject to the real property tax law.

Taxes

New York

AB 1239
SB 4666

Relates to state contracts being only with internet service providers compliant with net neutrality and establishes a revolving fund for the establishment of municipal internet service providers; appropriates $250 million therefor.

Municipal

New York

AB 2219

Requires that internet providers who provide service in a municipality provide basic internet service to each residential dwelling or residential dwelling unit in that municipality at no cost.

Rural and Underserved

New York

AB 2330
SB 4186

Directs the public service commission to study the feasibility and the costs of burying all or most of the electrical, telephone and internet transmission lines in New York state and to publish and deliver a report of its findings to the governor and the legislature, and requires new electrical, telephone and internet transmission lines to be buried underground.

Infrastructure

New York

AB 2396

Requires contracts for cable television and broadband internet attachments to utility poles and the use of utility ducts, trenches and conduits to include all such poles, ducts, trenches and conduits located within a given census tract.

Infrastructure

New York

AB 3006
SB 2506

Includes transportation to provide students with internet access as aidable transportation.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

New York

AB 3006
Signed by governor 4/16/21, Chapter 56
SB 2506
 

Enacts into law major components of legislation necessary to implement the state education, labor, housing and family assistance budget for the 2021-2022 state fiscal year; relates to establishing the comprehensive broadband connectivity act which directs the public service commission to review state broadband and fiber optic services (Part MM); requires every person, business, corporation, or their agents providing or seeking to provide broadband service in New York state to offer high speed broadband service to low-income consumer; defines "broadband service"; authorizes attorney general enforcement; makes related provisions (Part NN)

Education and Schools, High Speed and Rural and Underserved

New York

AB 3044
SB 929
Passed Senate 2/23/21

Provides a reimbursement to small businesses and residential consumers of certain utilities for failure to provide contracted services; requires the Long Island power authority to do the same.

Consumer Relations

New York

AB 3280
SB 3450

Establishes community broadband districts for the purpose of expanding broadband services.

Municipal

New York

AB 3472

Enacts the "omnibus telecommunications reform act"; reforms the competitive cable service, promotes the wide-spread development of high-capacity broadband internet access, and increases the availability and quality of services in this key economic development area and ensures the safety, reliability and affordability of telecommunications services.

Funding, Governance, Rural and Underserved and Taxes

New York

AB 3567
SB 3127

Prohibits landlords from including additional services in a tenant's base rent; provides that additional services include cable television, internet services, and garage usage.

 

New York

AB 3742
SB 1586

Requires the New York city housing authority to provide adequate and reliable internet service for all housing authority residents.

Rural and Underserved

New York

AB 3910
SB 46

Provides regulatory control of internet service providers by the public service commission, requires internet neutrality and relates to the placement of equipment on utility poles.

Governance and Infrastructure

New York

AB 3912
SB 3593

Provides internet access to all individuals receiving temporary housing assistance; provides that 100% of the cost for the expense incurred for local social services districts to provide such internet access shall be reimbursed by the state.

Rural and Underserved

New York

AB 4197
SB 1863

Relates to fees associated with agreements between municipalities and fiber optic utility companies; no fees shall be assessed for such agreements.

Infrastructure

New York

AB 4373
SB 2659

Relates to reducing the cost of expanding broadband access.

Infrastructure

New York

AB 4422
SB 36

Directs the public service commission to prohibit the attachment of wireless equipment or any other like attachments to existing utility poles in certain circumstances.

Infrastructure

New York

AB 5180
SB 3184

Enacts the "E-Let's Expand Access to Remote Now (E-LEARN) Act" to ensure all children have access to the delivery of technology through high-quality broadband internet connectivity in support of the constitutional education obligations of the state; imposes assessments on telecommunications providers; creates a state fund to accomplish objectives.

Education and Schools, Funding and Rural and Underserved

New York

AB 6042

Enacts the "digital fairness act."

Digital Literacy

New York

AB 6259

Requires broadband providers to offer high-speed broadband services to qualifying low-income consumers and allows for providers to increase the price of such services if proper notice is given.

Consumer Relations, High Speed and Rural and Underserved

New York

AB 6327

Requires broadband service providers to offer low-income households a discount on their broadband service bill to a maximum standard rate of $50.

Consumer Relations and Rural and Underserved

New York

AB 6347

Requires the public service commission to review broadband and fiber optic services within the state; requires the expansion of broadband and fiber optic services.

Governance, High Speed, Mapping and Rural and Underserved

New York

AB 6390
SB 3141

Authorizes broadband franchises in cities with a population of one million or more.

Infrastructure

New York

AB 6763
SB 594

Relates to internet access and communications for municipalities.

Municipal

New York

AB 6875

Provides for internet access and access to internet-enabled devices to recipients of public assistance and to adults and children in shelters, domestic violence residence programs, and other adult and children residence facilities.

Rural and Underserved

New York

AB 6441
SB 1058

Relates to communications union districts; allows two or more municipalities to submit to voters a proposition to enter into an agreement to operate a communications plant and deliver communications services to such municipalities.

Municipal

New York

SB 1631

Requires highway projects that receive state funding to include the installation of broadband conduits suitable for fiber optic cables or wireless facilities that support broadband services and provides for access to such conduits on a competitively neutral and nondiscriminatory basis, for a charge not to exceed a cost-based rate.

Dig Once and Infrastructure

New York

SB 2088

Relates to requiring internet service providers to charge a residential rate to emergency service organizations; creates a new article for the regulation of internet service providers.

 

New York

SB 3308

Requires that state contracts only be with internet service providers compliant with net neutrality and establishes a revolving fund for the establishment of municipal internet service providers; appropriates $250 million therefor.

Municipal

New York

SB 3364

Relates to conducting a study on various approaches to increasing broadband access within this state.

Rural and Underserved

New York

SB 3720

Adjust the limits on fees for the use and occupancy of the state right of way by fiber optic utilities; directs the department of transportation to study the cost of administering utility projects in state highway rights of way.

Infrastructure

New York

SB 3910

Authorizes the commissioner of transportation to enter into an agreement with all entities for use and occupancy of the state right of way for the purposes of installing, modifying, relocating, repairing, operating, or maintaining fiber optic facilities.

Infrastructure

New York

SB 4017

Requires free internet service in households with students who live at or below the poverty level; directs broadband companies to install and/or upgrade broadband services in educational facilities.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

New York

SB 4061

Directs the public service commission to establish quality of service standards, minimum performance levels, customer-specific credits, and reporting requirements that shall apply to each internet service provider.

Governance, High Speed, Mapping and Rural and Underserved

New York

SB 4878

Requires the public service commission to review broadband and fiber optic services within the state; requires the expansion of broadband and fiber optic services.

Infrastructure

New York

SB 5117

Enacts the "NY broadband resiliency, public safety and quality act" to provide for oversight of the resiliency, public safety and quality of broadband and voice over internet protocol service.

Governance

New York

SB 5524

Establishes a moratorium prohibiting certain broadband service terminations and disconnections during a state disaster emergency.

Consumer Relations

New York

SB 5525

Requires broadband providers to offer high speed broadband service to certain low-income consumers at a cost of not more than $5 per month.

High Speed and Rural and Underserved

New York

SB 5625

Provides for a refundable tax credit for costs paid for new construction of new broadband networks to residences and small businesses located in rural, unserved areas.

Infrastructure and Taxes

New York

SB 5626

Requires the Empire State Development corporation's broadband program office to assist in the provision and expansion of broadband internet access service and to address inequities in the availability of such service.

Governance and Rural and Underserved

New York

SB 5773

Requires certain public utilities, telecommunication carriers and internet or broadband providers operating within the bounds of any county that is required to have a local comprehensive emergency management plan to create a severe weather emergency response plan and to participate with any county they operate within in a biannual disaster drill.

 

New York

SB 5868

Facilitates access to telephone providers to deliver fiber-based services; permits telephone corporations to replace or supplement a telephone line or portion of a line with fiber optic facilities for purposes of providing any telephone, broadband, cable or other video service that the telephone corporation or its affiliate may lawfully provide.

Infrastructure

New York

SB 5931

Relates to requiring a digital equity officer be appointed by the director of the office of information technology services to develop, oversee and assist in providing statewide broadband access.

Governance

North Carolina

HB 79
Passed House 2/24/21

Requires the state board of education to maintain a digital learning dashboard updated annually by public school units and requires recommendations to the joint legislative education oversight committee based on information on student digital learning access during COVID-19.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

North Carolina

HB 196
Signed by governor 3/11/21, Chapter 3
SB 172

Makes modifications to COVID-19 relief legislation and provides additional appropriations for the expenditure of federal COVID-19 pandemic relief funds., includes student connectivity funds for complimentary internet service.

Education and Schools, Funding and Rural and Underserved

North Carolina

HB 289
Passed House 4/1/21

Appropriates funds to the department of information technology for the preparation of statewide broadband maps and establishes the department as the sole source of broadband mapping for state agencies.

Funding and Mapping

North Carolina

HB 384

Fosters infrastructure for broadband expansion and resources in North Carolina by authorizing counties and cities to install and lease broadband infrastructure to increase adequate broadband services to attract investment in local economies, provide for educational and career opportunities, modernize farming technologies, and to provide for improved health care.

 

Infrastructure

North Carolina

HB 476

Enacts the North Carolina Broadband Consumer Protection Act to provide oversight of broadband service by the North Carolina utilities commission.

Consumer Relations and Governance

North Carolina

SB 517

Appropriates funds to the department of information technology for the preparation of statewide broadband maps and to establish the department as the sole source of broadband mapping for state agencies; relieves regulatory burdens to expedite broadband expansion; allows for use of existing easements for broadband expansion; expands distribution of state surplus computers and computer hardware for nonprofits; allows local government leasing of existing broadband infrastructure; expands funding for G.R.E.A.T. program broadband grants; and provides stopgap internet access for classroom access, health care access, and job creation.

 

Education and Schools, Funding, Infrastructure, Mapping and Rural and Underserved

North Carolina

SB 523

Establishes the North Carolina broadband assistance program to provide funds to eligible low-income families to help make broadband access more affordable.

Rural and Underserved

North Carolina

SB 547

Fosters infrastructure for broadband expansion and resources in North Carolina by authorizing counties and cities to build and lease facilities and equipment of broadband services to increase adequate broadband services in rural areas of the state where the need for broadband is great due to many factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

Municipal and Rural and Underserved

North Carolina

SB 642

Appropriates funds to the technology and data institute to operate a pilot program to expand high-speed internet access to students of low-income families in central North Carolina.

Funding, High Speed and Rural and Underserved

North Carolina

SB 689

Facilitates the expansion of broadband service in unserved areas of the state by ensuring timely and nondiscriminatory access to municipal and electric membership cooperative utility poles, ducts, and conduits at just and reasonable rates; authorizes counties to provide grants to high-speed internet access service providers and to build facilities and equipment of a broadband service and to levy taxes for those purposes; further defines the term "city utility pole"; prohibits certain fees for the collocation of small wireless facilities; and makes related changes.

Funding, High Speed, Infrastructure, Rural and Underserved and Taxes

North Dakota

SB 2176
Failed to pass Senate 2/2/21

Provides an appropriation for a distance learning family reimbursement program

Education and Schools, Funding and Rural and Underserved

N. Mariana Islands

Not available

 

 

Ohio

HB 2
Passed House 2/18/21

Amends §§133.13 and 727.01 and enacts §§122.40, 122.401, 122.403, 122.404, 122.406, 122.407, 122.408, 122.4010, 122.4013, 122.4015, 122.4016, 122.4017, 122.4018, 122.4019, 122.4020, 122.4021, 122.4023, 122.4024, 122.4025, 122.4030, 122.4031, 122.4033, 122.4034, 122.4035, 122.4036, 122.4037, 122.4040, 122.4041, 122.4043, 122.4044, 122.4045, 122.4046, 122.4050, 122.4051, 122.4053, 122.4055, 122.4060, 122.4061, 122.4063, 122.4070, 122.4071, 122.4073, 122.4075, 122.4076, 122.4077, 188.01, 188.02, 188.05, 188.08, 188.11, 188.14, 188.17, 188.20, 188.23, 188.27, 188.30, 303.251, 505.881, 4926.01, 4926.03, 4926.06, 4926.09, 4926.12, 4926.15, 4926.18, 4926.21, 4926.24, 4926.27, 4926.30, 4926.33, 4926.36, 4926.39, 4926.42, 4926.43, 4926.45, 4926.48, 4926.51, 4926.54, 4926.57, and 4926.60 of the Revised Code regarding broadband expansion, including access to electric cooperative easements and facilities, and makes an appropriation.

Funding, Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Ohio

SB 8
Passed Senate 2/10/21

Amends §§133.13 and 727.01 and enacts §§122.40, 122.401, 122.403, 122.404, 122.406, 122.407, 122.408, 122.4010, 122.4013, 122.4015, 122.4016, 122.4017, 122.4018, 122.4019, 122.4020, 122.4021, 122.4023, 122.4024, 122.4025, 122.4030, 122.4031, 122.4033, 122.4034, 122.4035, 122.4036, 122.4037, 122.4040, 122.4041, 122.4043, 122.4044, 122.4045, 122.4046, 122.4050, 122.4051, 122.4053, 122.4055, 122.4060, 122.4061, 122.4063, 122.4070, 122.4071, 122.4073, 122.4075, 122.4076, 122.4077, 188.01, 188.02, 188.05, 188.08, 188.11, 188.14, 188.17, 188.20, 188.23, 188.27, 188.30, 303.251, 505.881, 4926.01, 4926.03, 4926.06, 4926.09, 4926.12, 4926.15, 4926.18, 4926.21, 4926.24, 4926.27, 4926.30, 4926.33, 4926.36, 4926.39, 4926.42, 4926.43, 4926.45, 4926.48, 4926.51, 4926.54, 4926.57, and 4926.60 of the Revised Code regarding broadband expansion, including access to electric cooperative easements and facilities, and makes an appropriation.

Funding, Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Oklahoma

HB 1049

Relates to motor vehicles; requires the Department of Public Safety to provide internet services with adequate speeds to motor license agents.

Infrastructure

Oklahoma

HB 1122
Passed House 3/9/21

Relates to telecommunications; imposes maximum charges with respect to certain connections to utility poles; prescribes method for determination of permissible rate increases; excludes rates related to electric power; provides for payment of rates for electric services; requires payment by rural electric cooperatives for certain relocations; prescribes method for computation of certain attachment rates; prohibits rural electric cooperatives from providing certain services.

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Oklahoma HB 1123 Relates to rural electric cooperative easements; defines terms; provides for use of certain easements for broadband service; prohibits class action lawsuits against certain entities based on trespass or inverse condemnation; provides for permanent nature of trespass or inverse condemnation; prescribes measure of damages; prohibits admission of certain evidence for purposes of determining fair market value; provides for permanent easement based upon payment of damages. Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Oklahoma

HB 1124
Passed House 3/9/21

Relates to rural broadband; requires the Corporation Commission promulgate rules and procedures for establishment of the State Broadband Deployment Grant Program; requires development of competitive grant program to award funding to expand broadband access; requires Commission to look at other state's best practices to facilitate framework of Program; creates the State Broadband Deployment Grant Program Revolving Fund; provides for codification; provides an effective date.

Funding, Governance and Rural and Underserved

Oklahoma

HB 1127

Relates to the Rural Broadband Expansion Council; makes an appropriation; specifies amount; states purpose; declares an emergency.

Governance and Mapping

Oklahoma

HB 1129

Relates to broadband; creates the Broadband Low Income Assistance Program Act; provides for noncodification.

Rural and Underserved

Oklahoma

HB 1635

Relates to revenue and taxation; provides income tax credit for certain qualified broadband telecommunications infrastructure; specifies amount of tax credit; prohibits reduction of tax liability to less than zero; authorizes carryover; provides for codification; provides an effective date.

Taxes

Oklahoma

HB 1923
Passed House 3/9/21

Relates to telecommunications; creates the Rural Broadband Access Policy Act of 2021; provides for noncodification; provides an effective date.

Rural and Underserved

Oklahoma

HB 2040
Passed House 3/9/21

Relates to revenue and taxation; relates to sales tax exemptions; provides for sales tax exemption with respect to certain equipment used for broadband access; provides exemption administered as rebate; defines term; requires net increase in number of customers; prescribes requirements related to purchase of equipment; prescribes maximum total rebate amounts per year; provides for reserved rebate pool amounts based upon county population density; provides for computation of rebate amounts.

Taxes

Oklahoma

HB 2210

Relates to broadband; creates the Broadband Efficiency Act; provides for noncodification; provides an effective date.

 

Oklahoma

HB 2212

Relates to broadband; creates the Broadband Reform Act of 2021; provides for noncodification; provides an effective date.

 

Oklahoma

HB 2297
Passed House 3/8/21

Relates to revenue and taxation; relates to the Ad Valorem Tax Code; modifies definitions; provides definition of fixed wireless broadband internet service provider; provides an effective date.

Taxes

Oklahoma

HB 2445

Relates to rural internet; creates the Rural Internet Reform Act; provides for noncodification; provides an effective date.

Rural and Underserve

Oklahoma

HB 2928
Passed House 3/9/21

Relates to rural broadband; requires private broadband service providers and certain satellite-based broadband private providers to submit map data by certain date; requires certain supplemental map data submission by certain date; authorizes the promulgation of certain rules; requires certain public entities to submit certain map data in certain form annually; requires private providers and public entities to disclose certain information on properties served and speeds of Internet service.

Mapping and Rural and Underserved

Oklahoma

SB 621

Relates to rural electric cooperatives; establishes maximum rate allowed for utility pole attachments; provides for certain rate increase; establishes responsibility of certain costs; determines maximum rate for certain services; provides limitations on services; provides for codification; provides an effective date.

Infrastructure

Oklahoma

SB 708

Relates to telecommunications; imposes maximum charges with respect to certain connections to utility poles; prescribes method for determination of permissible rate increases; excludes rates related to electric power; provides for payment of rates for electric services; states requirement of certain contract with cooperative; requires payment by rural electric cooperatives for certain relocations; provides for codification; provides an effective date.

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Oklahoma

SB 802
Passed Senate 3/9/21

Relates to the Rural Broadband Expansion Council; relates to the Rural Broadband Expansion Council; increases membership; adds certain tribal leader; updates statutory references; declares an emergency.

Governance and Rural and Underserved

Oregon

HB 2410

Prohibits public bodies from contracting with broadband internet access service providers that do not offer a low-income rate program that meets the minimum standards established by the Public Utility Commission by rule

Rural and Underserved

Oregon

HB 2411

Requires notifications and process for allowing interested telecommunications providers to coordinate with the Department of Transportation to include installation of underground infrastructure for provision of broadband as part of certain projects included in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program.

Dig Once and Infrastructure

Oregon

HB 2507
Passed House 4/5/21

Decouples the Oregon Telephone Assistance Program from funding offered by the Federal Communications Commission.

Rural and Underserved

Oregon

HB 2603

Requires owners or operators of undersea fiber optic telecommunication cables to obtain financial assurances and create a plan for removal of cable. Directs the Department of State Lands to study permitting processes for undersea fiber optic telecommunication cables and report results of the study to interim committees of the Legislative Assembly related to environment no later than Sept. 15, 2022.

Infrastructure

Oregon

HB 2613

Sets forth certain requirements related to the permitting and siting of broadband infrastructure.

Dig Once and Infrastructure

Oregon

HB 2654
Passed House 4/16/21

Authorizes an electric utility to use or allow for the use of an electric easement in the provision of broadband services. Provides process for a property owner to bring action for damages if the use in the provision of broadband services results in expanded use of the easement.

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Oregon

HB 2726

Direct the Public Utility Commission to study laws related to rural broadband and provide results to interim committees of Legislative Assembly no later than Sept. 15, 2022.

Governance and Rural and Underserved

Oregon

HB 2790

Appropriates moneys from the General Fund to the Oregon Department of Administrative Services for distribution to Curry County for the purpose of installing a fiber optic telecommunication line to Cape Blanco Airport.

Infrastructure

Oregon

SB 290

Directs the Oregon Business Development Department to study rural broadband access in this state. Requires the department to submit a report on findings to an interim committee of the Legislative Assembly by Sept. 15, 2022.

Governance and Rural and Underserved

Oregon

SB 615

Establishes the Low Income Broadband Bill Payment Assistance Fund. Directs the Oregon Business Development Department to establish by rule a program, to be administered by the Oregon Broadband Office, for providing broadband bill payment assistance to low income households.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

Pennsylvania

HB 86

Provides for online instruction.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

Pennsylvania

HB 166

Relates to alternative form of regulation of telecommunications services; provides for network modernization plans.

Infrastructure and Municipal

Pennsylvania

HB 956

Relates to emergency coronavirus response; establishes the County Block Grant - Broadband Deployment and Development Program.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

Pennsylvania

HB 1042

Provides for network modernization plan.

High Speed

Pennsylvania

HB 1075

Establishes the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority to provide broadband Internet access to unserved and underserved residents; provides for powers and duties of the authority, for financial assistance and for grants.

Funding, Governance and Rural and Underserved

Pennsylvania

SB 442

Provides for an inventory of state-owned assets for the development of fixed broadband services in unserved areas; establishes the Broadband Services Restricted Account.

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Puerto Rico

HB 327

Establishes the primary jurisdiction of the Telecommunications Bureau over consumer claims before telecommunications companies that provide Internet service, particularly those related to controversies over the speed of service.

Governance

Puerto Rico

SJR 42

Orders the Puerto Rico Department of Education to immediately fill all the positions of special education services assistants that remain to be named in order to provide them with electronic devices with Internet access so that they can assist their students from a distance.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

Puerto Rico

SR 17

Orders the Senate to study efforts of the Department of Education and the Puerto Rico Telecommunications Bureau to ensure that the communities and public schools of several municipalities regarding access the E-Rate Program.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

Rhode Island

HB 5148

This bill establishes the 11-member broadband council to create a plan to increase the use of broadband service in the state. A broadband coordinator is to be designated in Commerce RI to access federal funds and coordinate with the council.

Governance

Rhode Island

HB 5925

Requests that the Rhode Island congressional delegation obtain Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding to provide free high speed internet access in our public housing authorities by 2024.

Rural and Underserved

Rhode Island

HB 5934

This bill requires all school districts to provide students enrolled in grades Kindergarten through twelve (K-12) access to high-speed internet.

 

Education and Schools, High Speed and Rural and Underserved

Rhode Island

HB 6151

This bill authorizes the municipalities and/or authorized government entities to regulate wireless telecommunication service providers construction and modification of equipment to provide for the public safety and welfare including land use, zoning, and aesthetics. Authorizes the public utilities commission to promulgate rules and regulations. Violation of the

provision of this chapter or the rules and regulations would be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or imprisonment not to exceed one year, or both. This bill also repeals the "Rhode Island Small Cell Siting Act", chapter 32 of title 39.

 

Governance

A. Samoa

Not available

 

 

South Carolina

HB 3146

Adds article 3 to chapter 7, title 59 so as to create the "growing rural economies with access to technology (great) program", to facilitate the deployment of broadband to unserved areas of the state, to provide definitions, to establish the growing rural economies with access to technology fund, to provide that certain project areas are ineligible, to provide for application requirements, to provide for certain application priorities, to provide for certain matching funds requirements, and to provide reporting requirements; and designates the existing provisions of chapter 7, title 59 as article 1, "general provisions".

Funding and Rural and Underserved

South Carolina

HB 3196

Retitles article 23, chapter 9, title 58, relating to government-owned communications service providers as "local government-owned communications service providers"; adds §58-9-2640 so as to prohibit certain practices by local agencies providing communications services, including broadband services, and to provide exceptions; amends §58-9-2600, relating to the purpose of article 23, chapter 9, title 58, so as to define the article's modified purpose; amends §58-9-2610, relating to definitions applicable to government-owned communications service providers, so as to make conforming changes and add certain definitions; amends §58-9-2620, relating to government-owned communications service providers' duties and restrictions; cost and rate computations; and accounting requirements, so as to, among other things, authorize local agencies, as defined in this act, to participate in telecommunications ventures in order to provide broadband services to unserved areas within the agencies' geographical or territorial boundaries; amends §58-9-2630, relating to tax collections and payments by government-owned communications service providers, so as to make conforming changes; amends §58-9-2650, relating to liability insurance rates, so as to make conforming changes; amends §58-9-3010, relating to definitions applicable to article 25, chapter 9, title 58, so as to make conforming changes to a cross reference; and repeals §§58-9-2660 and 58-9-2670 relating to petitions to designate unserved areas, and exemptions for government-owned communications service providers receiving funding for comprehensive community infrastructure projects.

Municipal

South Carolina

HB 3891

Adds §12-6-3810 so as to provide an income tax credit for certain broadband service providers that provide a discount to families with children who require internet access for educational purposes or veterans.

Education and Schools and Taxes

South Carolina

SB 60

Adds §59-1-500, to require the general assembly, in the annual general appropriations act, to appropriate funds to install, maintain, and provide wireless local area networks in every K-12 school in this state and thereafter to appropriate funds to install, maintain, and provide wireless local area networks in every school bus in this state, to require each district to adopt a plan to make school buses available to students on non-school days, and to require each district to issue a report detailing the use of the funds appropriated.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

South Carolina

SB 519

Adds §58-4-140 so as to establish the office of broadband development, to provide duties of the office, and to provide for annual reports.

Governance

South Dakota

HB 1259
Signed by governor 3/25/21

Creates the rural access infrastructure fund, to provide for the use and distribution of the fund and makes an appropriation.

Funding and Infrastructure

South Dakota

SB 34
Signed by governor 3/25/21

Makes an appropriation to expand rural access to broadband services.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

Tennessee

HB 28

Authorizes municipal electric plants, electric cooperatives, and telephone cooperatives to provide broadband internet service on their own or by joint venture in geographical areas outside their service areas if the areas are located in a distressed county; requires broadband internet service be provided in state parks located in distressed counties.

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Tennessee

HB 623
Withdrawn from further consideration 2/24/21
SB 565

Authorizes municipalities operating an electric plant to provide telecommunication services, including fiber-to-the-premises, in geographical areas both within and outside of the electric plant's service area.

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Tennessee

HB 624
SB 185

Specifies that the Tennessee public utility commission shall deem an applicant to have satisfied all requirements necessary for approval of a state-issued certificate of franchise authority if the applicant has provided fiber-to-the-premises to at least 1,000 customers for a period of at least one year prior to the application.

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Tennessee

HB 748
SB 556

Requires the department of economic and community development to transmit any report made on the status of grants under the broadband accessibility grant program no later than Dec. 31 in the applicable year; adds the legislative librarian as a recipient of such report.

Funding, Governance and Rural and Underserved

Tennessee

HB 804
SB 904

Adds to projects under the authority of industrial development corporations certain facilities or expenditures paid or incurred for a system, plant, or equipment for the provision of certain telecommunications services; authorizes a municipality to provide aid or assistance for such projects.

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Tennessee

HB 817
SB 978

Authorizes a municipal electric plant to provide telephone, telegraph, telecommunications services, or other like systems, plants, or equipment within the corporate or county limits of another municipality without needing to obtain consent; increases the minimum download and upload speeds required for an entity to be awarded a broadband accessibility grant.

Funding, Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Tennessee

HB 821
SB 580

Authorizes a municipal energy authority whose principal office is located within a county with a population of 25,000 or less that has also been designated as a tier 3 or a tier 4 enhancement county to provide cable or internet service within the portion of the county that is outside of the authority’s electric system service area if the authority obtains the consent of each telephone cooperative, electric cooperative, and municipal or other governmental electric system in whose territory the authority will provide those services.

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Tennessee

HB 885
SB 377

Provides a $400 supplement to families receiving temporary assistance for three months to offset expenses related to purchasing personal protective equipment, job loss, internet costs associated with virtual education and job searches, and other pandemic-related expenses.

Rural and Underserved

Tennessee

HB 1263
SB 1198

Requires department of economic and community development to submit the report on grants distributed under the broadband accessibility grant program to the chairs of the finance, ways and means committees.

Funding and Governance

Tennessee

HB 1461
SB 639

Directs the department to develop partnerships with technology companies, nonprofit organizations, and other public and private community partners to establish programs and seek grants to provide low-cost or free technology training, computers, and job placement services to single parents.

Digital Literacy

Tennessee

HB 1531
SB 1521

Authorizes municipalities operating an electric plant to provide telecommunication services, including fiber-to-the-premises, in geographical areas both within and outside of the electric plant's service area.

Infrastructure, Municipal and Rural and Underserved

Tennessee

HB 1580
SB 1006

Increases from 10 Mbps / 1 Mbps to 25 Mbps / 3 Mbps, the minimum download and upload speeds that are to be promoted by grants awarded under the broadband accessibility grant program, with priority given to projects that serve locations without access to those speeds.

Funding, High Speed and Rural and Underserved

Tennessee

HJR 102

Requests the Tennessee Congressional delegation to work with the Tennessee Valley Authority to ensure that its policies are not barriers to broadband deployment.

Infrastructure

Texas

HB 5
Passed House 4/9/21

Relates to the expansion of broadband services to certain areas.

Funding, Governance and Mapping

Texas

HB 425

Relates to the use of the universal service fund for the provision of broadband service in underserved rural areas.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

Texas

HB 1206
SB 241

Relates to permissible uses of the instructional materials and technology allotment.

Education and Schools, Funding and Rural and Underserved

Texas

HB 1446
SB 506

Relates to the expansion of broadband services to certain areas.

Funding, Governance, Mapping and Rural and Underserved

Texas

HB 1505
SB 1283

Relates to attachments for broadband service on utility poles owned by an electric cooperative.

Infrastructure

Texas

HB 1511

Relates to the creation of the connectivity office within the office of the governor.

Governance

Texas

HB 1715
SB 632
Passed both houses 4/15/21

Relates to provision of broadband infrastructure and connectivity by the Lower Colorado River Authority.

Infrastructure

Texas

HB 2531
SB 507
Passed Senate 3/31/21

Relates to an accommodation process authorizing the use of state highway rights-of-way by broadband-only providers.

Infrastructure

Texas

HB 2907

Relates to the reporting of broadband speeds by internet service providers to the governor's broadband development council.

Governance

Texas

HB 3261
SB 1171

Relates to the electronic administration of assessment instruments in public schools and to certain measures to support internet connectivity for purposes of those assessment instruments.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

Texas

HB 3406

Relates to the creation of a mobile internet access hotspot grant program to provide grants to facilitate distance learning for public school students.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

Texas

HB 3591

Relates to the creation of a high-speed internet access grant program to facilitate instruction and learning for public school students.

Education and Schools, Funding and Rural and Underserved

Texas

HB 3853
SB 1650
Passed Senate 4/14/21

Relates to middle mile broadband service provided by an electric utility.

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Texas

HB 3889

Relates to the cost for certain public school students of a broadband internet access program offered by the Texas Education Agency.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

Texas

HB 4375

Relates to the expansion of broadband services to certain areas.

Funding, Governance and High Speed

Texas

HJR 2
SJR 62

Proposes a constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the State Utilities Reliability Fund and the State Utilities Reliability Revenue Fund to provide financial support for projects that enhance the reliability of water, electricity, natural gas, and broadband utilities in this state.

Funding

Texas

SB 5
Passed Senate 3/31/21

Relates to the expansion of broadband services to certain areas.

Funding, Governance, Mapping and Rural and Underserved

Texas

SB 154

Relates to the creation of the broadband office within the Public Utility Commission of the state and the establishment of a broadband service investment grant program.

Funding and Governance

Texas

SB 200

Relates to the exclusion of internet access service from sales and use taxes.

Taxes

Texas

SB 258

Relates to a remote education and distance learning allotment under the Foundation School Program.

Education and Schools, Funding and Rural and Underserved

Texas

SB 618

Relates to the creation of the State Telecommunications Infrastructure Board.

Governance and Infrastructure

Texas

SB 686

Relates to the creation and funding of the Texas student connectivity account; imposes a fee.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

Texas

SB 1799

Relates to the creation of a broadband internet connectivity and broadband access grant program to facilitate instruction and learning for public school students.

Education and Schools, Funding and Rural and Underserved

Utah

HB 304
Passed House 2/19/21

This bill implements measures to increase broadband infrastructure, digital access, and digital equity. This bill: defines terms; creates the Digital Equity Program (program) within the State Library Division (division); describes the program objectives and activities; and grants rulemaking authority to the division to accomplish program objectives.

Digital Literacy, Governance and Rural and Underserved

Utah

HB 348
Signed by governor 3/17/21, Chapter

This bill modifies provisions related to economic development. This bill: defines terms; renames the Governor's Office of Economic Development as the Governor's Office of Economic Opportunity (GO Utah office); extends the deadline by which the GO Utah office must create a database to track certain information related to community reinvestment agencies; modifies Utah Futures by renaming the program, moving the program under the Utah Board of Higher Education, and modifying certain requirements; establishes the Unified Economic Opportunity Commission (commission) to develop, direct, and coordinate a statewide economic development strategy; modifies the duties of the GO Utah office to include implementing the statewide economic development strategy developed by the commission; provides the commission authority to create one or more subcommittees related to specified issues; creates the following commission subcommittees: the Business and Economic Development Subcommittee, formerly called the Board of Business and Economic Development; and the Talent, Education, and Industry Alignment Subcommittee, formerly the Talent Ready Utah Board; modifies provisions related to economic development tax increment financing; requires the GO Utah office to submit an annual report to certain state entities that gives an overview of the implementation and efficacy of the statewide economic development strategy; creates a talent development grant program for businesses that create new incremental high paying jobs in the state; directs the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation to promote all forms of outdoor recreation, including vehicular and non-vehicular; creates the Utah Broadband Center and addresses its operations and duties; establishes the Broadband Access Grant Program; repeals the Governor's Rural Partnership Board; repeals the Governor's Economic Development Coordinating Council; repeals the Technology Commercialization and Innovation Act; repeals the Utah Business Resource Centers Act; and makes technical and conforming changes.

Funding and Governance

Vermont

HB 194

This bill proposes to: (1) enact measures to support and accelerate the broadband deployment objectives of communications union districts (CUDs); and (2) create an Office of Broadband.

Governance and Municipal

Vermont

HB 360
Passed House 3/23/21

This bill proposes to coordinate, facilitate, support, and accelerate community broadband deployment throughout Vermont.

Funding, Governance and Rural and Underserved

Vermont

SB 64

This bill proposes to create a property tax exemption for new broadband infrastructure constructed by an electric cooperative.

Infrastructure, Rural and Underserved and Taxes

Vermont

SB 118

This bill proposes to reconstitute the Vermont Telecommunications Authority to coordinate, oversee, and implement a new approach to creative and innovative strategies designed to address the challenges to maintaining a robust, modern telecommunications network in Vermont accessible by all.

 

Governance

Virginia

HB 1923
Signed by governor 3/25/21, Chapter 356
SB 1334
Signed by governor 3/25/21, Chapter 357

Expands an existing pilot program under which Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power are authorized to provide or make available broadband capacity to Internet service providers in areas of the Commonwealth that are unserved by broadband to include municipal Internet service providers. The current program is restricted to nongovernmental Internet service providers.

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Virginia

HB 2214

Requires the commonwealth broadband chief advisor to develop and maintain a map of private broadband provider service territories, including accurate average broadband speeds in such territories. The map shall be updated yearly and be made available to the public.

Governance and Mapping

Virginia

SB 1225
Signed by governor 3/31/21, Chapter 496

Authorizes school boards to appropriate funds for the purposes of promoting, facilitating, and encouraging the expansion and operation of broadband services for educational purposes. The bill authorizes school boards to partner with private broadband service providers to promote, implement, and subsidize broadband for educational purposes to the households of students who would qualify for (i) a child nutrition program or (ii) any other program recognized or adopted by the local school board as a measuring standard to identify at-risk students.

Education and Schools, Funding and Rural and Underserved

Virginia

SB 1385
Signed by governor 3/31/21, Chapter 505

Removes the sunset on a pilot program allowing a locality that has adopted the urban county executive form of government (Fairfax County) to request an electric utility to place underground electric distribution lines as part of a transportation infrastructure improvement project and changes a number of provisions in the program including (i) expanding the scope to include electric cooperatives, telecommunications providers, cable providers, and other utilities; (ii) expanding the scope to include all underground facilities; (iii) placing additional limits on the levy to fund the project and the types of projects for which it may be imposed; and (iv) authorizing the locality to secure necessary permits on behalf of the utility or provider.

Infrastructure

Virginia

SB 1434

Provides that if a school board requires students to engage in virtual learning for any reason, whether full time or part time, and a computer and Internet service to connect to the curriculum is required, the school board must provide appropriate technology devices to every student enrolled in the school system so they may access the learning platform. The bill requires school boards to provide adequate Internet service to a student's household at no cost if the student's household income is below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

Virginia

SB 1462
Passed Senate 2/5/21

Requires the Department of Social Services to establish a pilot program to provide a fixed reimbursement for the costs of broadband services to households currently participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The bill has an expiration date of July 1, 2024. The provisions of the bill are contingent on funding in a general appropriation act.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

U.S. Virgin Islands

None

 

 

Washington

HB 1064
Signed by governor 4/14/21, Chapter

Adds questions about internet service to the seller disclosure statement for residential property

Consumer Relations and High Speed

Washington

HB 1246

Authorizes an additional 0.05% local sales and use tax, credited against the state portion of the sales and use tax, to be imposed by a rural county public facilities district to support the development of rural high speed internet infrastructure.

High Speed and Taxes

Washington

HB 1263

Requires the Department of Commerce (Department) to establish a competitive grant program to award funding to eligible public and private entities located in rural counties for public facilities. Requires the Department to prioritize applications according to specified factors. Establishes additional procedures for applications requesting funding for broadband infrastructure, including a process for existing entities providing broadband service in the proposed project area to object to the proposed broadband project. Requires the Department to report on the rural infrastructure grant program to the Office of Financial Management and the Legislature. Modifies provisions related to the System Improvement Team, including removing the Team expiration date and adding a Team reporting requirement to the Legislature.

Funding, Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Washington

HB 1336
To House for concurrence 4/11/21

Authorizes public utility districts, port districts, second-class cities, towns, and counties to provide retail telecommunications services.

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Washington

HB 1457
Passed both houses 4/15/21

Directs the Statewide Broadband Office to consider transportation when coordinating and reporting on broadband infrastructure development. Requires the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to adopt and maintain a policy to provide broadband facility owners with information about planned highway projects to facilitate broadband installation coordination, and if no opportunities can be identified, allows WSDOT to proactively install conduit and issue franchises for its use. Adds a Joint Transportation Committee study to provide recommendations related to WSDOT's role in broadband service expansion efforts, subject to appropriations.

Dig Once and Infrastructure

Washington

HB 1460

Establishes the following programs: Senior Call-Check Service and Notification Program; Washington Lifeline Program; Universal Teleconnect Service Program; Digital Equity Opportunity Grant Program; and Digital Equity Planning Grant Program. Modifies the existing Universal Communications Services Account to create a Universal Services Account for receipt of revenues and expenditures of programs under the Act.

Establishes a monthly $0.25 telephone and voice over Internet protocol tax on all switched access lines in the state. Establishes a monthly $0.25 internet access tax imposed on all internet access service subscriptions in the state.

Rural and Underserved and Taxes

Washington

SB 5110

Removes the wireless service tower height requirement to qualify for a categorical exemption. Mandates local governments to allow applicants to file a single set of documents for multiple microcell sites if certain requirements are met. Reduces the review timeframe of certain right-of-way lease applications and applications to occupy a right-of-way for wireline facilities. Removes exceptions for placing a moratorium on the processing of applications or use of any facilities for personal wireless services. Modifies provisions related to the classification of a telecommunications company. Modifies and expands the applicability of the charge for an easement granted for local public utility lines owned by a nongovernmental entity. Modifies provisions regulating public utility district authority to combine utility functions and account for wholesale and retail telecommunication services. Creates a business and occupation tax credit for a person providing broadband services in unserved areas.

Infrastructure and Taxes

Washington

SB 5357
Passed House 3/5/21

Creates to Broadband Investment Acceleration Program in the Washington Statewide Broadband Office. Requires the Washington Statewide Broadband Office to develop a project evaluation process to assist in coordination among state broadband infrastructure funders to maximize federal funding opportunities.

 

Funding and Governance

Washington

SB 5383
To Senate for concurrence 4/11/21

Authorizes a public utility district or port district to provide retail telecommunication services in an unserved area.

Infrastructure and Rural and Underserved

Washington

SB 5439
Passed Senate 2/26/21

Makes it the policy of the state that limited access highway rights-of-way be used to accommodate the deployment of broadband facilities as a critical part of the state's infrastructure.

Requires the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to adopt and maintain an agency policy to provide broadband facility owners with information about planned highway projects. Authorizes the WSDOT to have its contractors install broadband conduit as part of road construction projects if no owners would like to participate in the installation of broadband infrastructure. Authorizes the WSDOT to grant franchises to use a state highway for construction and maintenance of fiber optic facilities. Requires the Joint Transportation Committee to oversee a consultant study to provide recommendations related to the WSDOT's role in broadband service expansion efforts, subject to appropriations.

Dig Once and Infrastructure

Washington

SB 5470

Prohibits broadband internet access service providers from applying data caps during a state of emergency.

Consumer Relations

West Virginia

HB 2002
Passed both houses 4/10/21

Repeals §17-2E-6; repeals §31G-1-2 6, §31G-1-9, and §31G-1-12 of said code; amends and reenacts §17-2E-3, §17-2E-5, §17-2E-7, §17-2E-8, and §17-2E-9 of said code; amends and reenacts §31G-1-4 of said code; amends said code by adding thereto a new article, designated §31G-1A-1, §31G-5 1A-2, §31G-1A-3, §31G-1A-4, §31G-1A-5, and §31G-1A-6; amends said code by adding thereto a new section, designated §31G-3-3 and §31G-3-4; amends and reenacts §31G[1]7 4-1, §31G-4-2, and §31G-4-4 of said code; and amends said code by adding thereto a new article, designated §31G-6-1 and §31G-6-2, all relating to broadband expansion policies; establishes requirements for agreements between the Division of Highways and an entity seeking to install telecommunications facilities; providing that if such installation can be accommodated as a utility pursuant to federal and state law, the division shall issue a permit for access to rights-of-way; providing for permit procedures and requirements; requires notice to the Office of Broadband of a telecommunication entity’s intent to seek construction in division rights-of-way; provides the Office of Broadband is responsible for ensuring compliance with certain terms of permit requirements; granting the division authority to determine whether its use of a telecommunication carrier’s trench warrants apportionment of costs to it; modifies exceptions to dig once requirements; provides the division authority to allow carriers to use excess telecommunications facilities; allows the division to transfer or assign ownership of excess telecommunications facilities to another state agency upon approval by governor; provides rulemaking authority to the division; modifies the powers and duties of Broadband Enhancement Council; establishes the Office of Broadband within the Department of Economic Development; creates the position of the director of the Office of Broadband; requires the Office of Broadband report annually to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance; establishes the powers and duties of the Office of Broadband; requires the Office of Broadband to coordinate with the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office on specified consumer protection claims; requires the Office of Broadband to map broadband in the state and establish an interactive public map; defines “unserved area”; requires certain executive agencies to cooperate and provide information to the Office of Broadband regarding AREA maps; allows Office of Broadband to establish a voluntary data collection program; provides that information collected in program not subject to the Freedom of Information Act; provides procedures and requirements for a data collection program; protects proprietary business information provided to the Office of Broadband and exempts such information from Freedom of Information Act requirements; provides rulemaking authority to the Office of Broadband; establishes requirements for counites, municipalities, and political subdivisions regarding installation of conduit; authorizes a broadband operator to construct or operate a system over public rights-of-way and through easements which are within the area to be served and which have been dedicated for compatible uses; establishes requirements for broadband operators related to installation and construction; requires broadband operators to indemnify the state for any claims for injury and damage to persons or property; establishes requirements for broadband operator related to the use of public highways and other public places; provides installations in railroad rights of way and trackways do not have any greater or lesser requirement to comply with stated railroad safety requirements; establishes requirements for broadband operator related easements; defines terms; requires that an ILEC who accepts payment for make-ready work, and fails to perform that work within 45 days, to immediately return and refund the moneys paid for that work which was not completed, and provides remedies and exceptions in such instances; requires the Public Service Commission to promulgate rules to address abandoned cable, conductor, and related facilities attached to utility poles and providing requirements for said rules; requires the Public Service Commission to promulgate rules to govern the timely transfer of facilities from an old pole to a new pole and the removal of utility poles that have had electric facilities moved to new poles but continue to have other facilities attached in the telecommunications space on the old existing poles and providing requirements for said rules; provides for preemption of West Virginia Code, the Code of State Rules, and ordinances relating to installation of certain broadband equipment; provides private agreements, promulgated or effective after the effective date of this legislation, may not regulate or prevent the exterior installation of antennas and equipment necessary to or typically utilized for broadband deployment; provides for scheme of construction of such language in favor of encouraging and assisting broadband installation and deployment; provides for preemption of West Virginia Code, the Code of State Rules, and ordinances relating to pole attachment of certain broadband equipment; and provides for scheme of construction of language of private agreements relating to pole attachment.

Consumer Relations, Dig Once, Governance, Infrastructure, Mapping and Rural and Underserved

West Virginia

HB 3275

Amends the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §31G-6-1, §31G-6-2, and §31G-6-3, all relating to broadband resiliency, public safety and quality act; authorizes rulemaking; makes findings; defines terms; authorizes oversight of broadband and VoIP; authorizes council to audit; and provides reporting annual reporting.

Governance

West Virginia

HB 3302

Amends the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §31G-6-1, §31G-6-2, §31G-6-3, and §31G-6-4, all relating generally to broadband enhancement and expansion policies; provides for the creation and administration of four funds in the State Treasury known as the Broadband Open Access Middle Mile Fund, the Broadband Grant Matching Fund, the Wired Wonderful West Virginia Fund, and the Broadband Provider Expansion Fund, all to be administered by and under the control of the Office of Broadband; provides for state budgeting and legislative appropriations concerning the funds; provides for the separate purposes of each of the funds and the separate conditions under which moneys in each fund may be expended, being generally broadband expansion in this state.

Funding

West Virginia

HR 27

Requests the Joint Committee on Government and Finance to study the extent to which various federal, state, and local entities have dedicated or appropriated real and financial resources to expanding and improving broadband access in West Virginia over the next year.

 

West Virginia

SB 380

Amends the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §5B-10-1, §5B-10-2, §5B-10-3, §5B-10-4, §5B-10-5, §5B-10-6, §5B-10-7, §5B-10-8, §5B-10-9, §5B-10-10, §5B-10-11, §5B-10-12, §5B-10-13, and §5B-10-14; and amends said code by adding thereto a new article, designated §18-31A-1 and §18-31A-5 2, all relating to structuring the Electronic Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Act; conducts an inventory and developing coordinated deployment and operation of technology infrastructure within this state; definitions; legislative findings; technology infrastructure inventory, local government cooperation, inventory survey reporting requirements; rule-making authority of secretary of Department of Administration; exemption from disclosure of confidential information; creates Joint Legislative Oversight Commission on Transportation and Infrastructure; powers and duties of the secretary of Commerce; rule-making authority of Council for Community and Economic Development relating to secretary; study by secretary and inventory of management practices of technology and technology infrastructure; reporting requirements; provides technical and funding assistance to develop technology infrastructure; authorizes secretary to engage in consulting services for fee; contractual and joint venture agreements; liberal construction of article; and utilizes broadband infrastructure, technology, and information to enhance early childhood development.

 

Funding and Governance

West Virginia

SB 705

Amends and reenacts §5-22A-5 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; amends said code by adding thereto a new article, designated §5-22B-1, §5-22B-2, §5-22B-3, §5-3 22B-4, §5-22B-5, §5-22B-6, and §5-22B-7; and amends and reenacts §31G-1-4 of said code, all relating to creating the Multi-Phase Procurement for Broadband Projects Act for public-private partnership broadband projects; and provides that the Design Build Board and the Broadband Enhancement Council shall administer duties of the Multi-Phase Procurement for Broadband Projects Act.

Governance and Infrastructure

Wisconsin

AB 239
Enrolled 4/14/21

Creates §196.504 (2g) and §196.504 (2r) of the statutes; relates to: the use of certain federal funds for broadband expansion grants.

Funding and Governance

Wisconsin

SB 278

The bill requires the governor to allocate $500 million of the federal funds received by the state under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to make broadband expansion grants. Under current law, the Public Service Commission provides grants to eligible applicants for constructing broadband infrastructure in underserved areas. The bill also requires the PSC to submit an annual report to the Joint Committee on Finance related to the broadband expansion grants awarded.

Funding and Governance

Wyoming

HB 14
Signed by governor 4/1/21, Chapter 45

Relates to rights-of-way; specifies requirements and procedures for rights-of-way along public ways; requires an application for a blanket easement for rights-of-way on public roads on federal lands in the state for broadband infrastructure development; provides for a working group for rights-of-way on public roads on federal lands; provides for an effective date.

Infrastructure

Wyoming

HB 15
Signed by governor 2/9/21, Chapter 23

Amends leasing provisions for department of transportation communications facilities for the provision of broadband and telecommunications services; specifies disposition of lease proceeds from communications facilities; and provides definitions.

Infrastructure

Wyoming

HB 197
Signed by governor 4/5/21, Chapter 92

Relates to the emergency expenses of government related to broadband internet access; authorizes the use of federal funds related to the Connect Wyoming program for broadband development; defines terms related to funding the program; appropriates funds; provides rulemaking authority.

Funding and Rural and Underserved

Wyoming

SF 76
Signed by governor 4/6/21, Chapter 139

Relates to the broadband development program; creates requirements for providing funding for middle-mile broadband projects; defines terms; amends minimum speed requirements for projects funded under the program; specifies eligible applicants for funding; amends rulemaking authority and requirements for the program; amends application contents; amends procedures for the challenge process; specifies additional funding priorities.

Funding, High Speed and Infrastructure

 

 

 

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Heather Morton is a program principal in Fiscal Affairs. She covers financial services, alcohol production and sales, and telecommunications issues for NCSL.

 

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