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HB 201: "An Act establishing the Alaska Broadband Task Force."

00                             HOUSE BILL NO. 201                                                                          
01 "An Act establishing the Alaska Broadband Task Force."                                                                  
02 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                                
03    * Section 1. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section                          
04 to read:                                                                                                                
05       LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND PURPOSE. (a) The legislature finds that                                                  
06            (1)  many communities in the state have limited access to the Internet;                                      
07            (2)  although the state is connected to the rest of the world through several                                
08 fiber optic cables, many areas in the state are unable to take advantage of the speed and                               
09 capacity the fiber optic cables offer;                                                                                  
10            (3)  removing barriers to broadband deployment by using a technology-neutral                                 
11 approach will encourage lower prices for broadband service and offer more choices to                                    
12 consumers;                                                                                                              
13            (4)  the deployment of broadband networking and advanced                                                     
14 telecommunications services throughout the state is essential for the state to keep pace with                           
15 global changes in economic diversification, education, health care, energy and environmental                            
01 technology, and public safety;                                                                                          
02            (5)  state action is necessary to support investment in and development of                                   
03 accessible broadband networks in the state.                                                                             
04       (b)  The purpose of sec. 2 of this Act is to establish the Alaska Broadband Task Force                            
05 to                                                                                                                      
06            (1)  identify barriers to broadband access and recommend options for removing                                
07 those barriers;                                                                                                         
08            (2)  identify opportunities for increased broadband deployment and access by                                 
09 users in the state;                                                                                                     
10            (3)  recommend the means for the creation and deployment of new and                                          
11 advanced communications options in the state.                                                                           
12    * Sec. 2. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to                          
13 read:                                                                                                                   
14       ALASKA BROADBAND TASK FORCE. (a) The Alaska Broadband Task Force is                                               
15 established in the legislative branch of state government. The task force consists of 13                                
16 members appointed as follows:                                                                                           
17            (1)  the president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives                             
18 shall each appoint one member of the majority organizational caucus and one member of the                               
19 minority organizational caucus from their respective bodies; if there is no minority                                    
20 organizational caucus in a house, the presiding officer of that house shall appoint two                                 
21 members from the majority organizational caucus of that house;                                                          
22            (2)  four members shall be representatives of state, municipal, or other local                               
23 government agencies responsible for information technology, economic development,                                       
24 infrastructure development, and public utility regulation with two members appointed by the                             
25 president of the senate and two members appointed by the speaker of the house of                                        
26 representatives;                                                                                                        
27            (3)  five members shall be representatives of technology, telecommunications,                                
28 and investment businesses doing business in the state and appointed jointly by the president of                         
29 the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives.                                                             
30       (b)  The task force established under (a) of this section                                                         
31            (1)  may begin work immediately after a majority of the membership is                                        
01 appointed;                                                                                                              
02            (2)  shall                                                                                                   
03                 (A)  determine the current level of broadband access in the urban and                                   
04       rural areas of the state;                                                                                         
05                 (B)  determine an acceptable level of broadband service throughout the                                  
06       state;                                                                                                            
07                 (C)  determine the means for increasing the level of service, including                                 
08       regulatory changes and investment incentives for areas that are below the acceptable                              
09       level determined in (B) of this paragraph;                                                                        
10                 (D)  explore the potential for increased use of broadband service for the                               
11       purposes of education and health care delivery and other private and governmental                                 
12       uses;                                                                                                             
13                 (E)  solicit suggestions from persons engaged in the development of                                     
14       broadband infrastructure and operation of broadband services for expanding the                                    
15       availability of broadband service in the state;                                                                   
16                 (F)  study all means for delivering broadband service;                                                  
17                 (G)  establish best practices to establish and maintain a database that                                 
18       lists current broadband service providers and where each operates, projects that are                              
19       currently being developed, and projects that are in the planning and predevelopment                               
20       stage;                                                                                                            
21                 (H)  explore ways for encouraging state and municipal agencies to                                       
22       expand the development and use of broadband services, including audio and video                                   
23       streaming, voice-over Internet protocol, teleconferencing, and wireless networking;                               
24                 (I)  submit a report of the initial findings and recommendations for                                    
25       expanding access to broadband services throughout the state to the president of the                               
26       senate and the speaker of the house of representatives before December 31, 2011;                                  
27                 (J)  submit a final report of findings and recommendations for                                          
28       expanding access to broadband services throughout the state to the president of the                               
29       senate and the speaker of the house of representatives before February 1, 2012;                                   
30                 (K)  terminate on March 1, 2012.                                                                        
31       (c)  Members of the task force shall select a chair and vice-chair. Administrative                                
01 support for the task force shall be provided by legislative staff designated jointly by the                             
02 president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives.                                                
03       (d)  A member of the task force who is not a legislator or a full-time employee of the                            
04 state or a municipality is entitled to per diem and travel expenses authorized for boards and                           
05 commissions under AS 39.20.180.                                                                                         
06       (e)  A vacancy on the task force shall be filled in the same manner as the original                               
07 appointment under (a)(1) - (3) of this section.