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HB 246: "An Act creating the Broadband Development Commission."

00                             HOUSE BILL NO. 246                                                                          
01 "An Act creating the Broadband Development Commission."                                                                 
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. The legislature finds that                                                                  
06 (1)  many communities in the state have limited access to the Internet because                                          
07 the communities lack broadband and advanced telecommunications that enable high-speed                                   
08 access to the Internet necessary to support modern civic, governmental, cultural, economic                              
09 development, health care, public safety, educational, and community resources;                                          
10 (2)  although the state is connected to the rest of the world through several                                           
11 fiber-optic cables, many areas in the state lack sufficient access to affordable broadband data                         
12 services and broadband Internet access services because of insufficient connectivity to fiber-                          
13 optic cables;                                                                                                           
14            (3)  removing barriers to broadband deployment by using a technology and                                     
15 competitively neutral approach will encourage lower prices for broadband service, expand                                
01 availability, and offer more choices to consumers;                                                                      
02 (4)  access to broadband and advanced telecommunications services                                                       
03 throughout the state is essential for the state to keep pace with global changes in economic                            
04 diversification, education, health care, energy and environmental technology, and public                                
05 safety;                                                                                                                 
06 (5)  affordable and nondiscriminatory access is necessary to support                                                    
07 investment in and development of accessible broadband networks in the state and action                                  
08 should be taken to ensure that broadband services are affordable and reasonably comparable                              
09 in all areas of the state;                                                                                              
10 (6)  insufficient and unaffordable Internet connectivity between unserved or                                            
11 underserved locations and existing fiber-optic cables that provide high-speed Internet service                          
12 is the greatest and most costly obstacle to wider deployment of broadband and advanced                                  
13 telecommunications services in remote areas of the state;                                                               
14 (7)  funding from federal, private, or other sources is essential to offset the                                         
15 high cost of deployment, ownership, and operation of facilities providing Internet                                      
16 connectivity; and                                                                                                       
17 (8)  a coordinated approach is necessary to ensure that facilities that provide                                         
18 Internet connectivity are deployed efficiently and have sufficient capacity to reach unserved                           
19 and underserved areas of the state and that Internet connectivity is made available on a                                
20 nondiscriminatory basis to all potential users and service providers.                                                   
21    * Sec. 2. AS 42.05.145 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:                                              
22 (c)  Upon application, the commission shall designate the Alaska Broadband                                              
23 Development Commission, established in AS 44.21.510 - 44.21.530, as an eligible                                         
24       telecommunications carrier for the purposes of 47 U.S.C. 214(e).                                                  
25    * Sec. 3. AS 44.21 is amended by adding new sections to read:                                                      
26                Article 7. Broadband Development Commission.                                                           
27 Sec. 44.21.510. Broadband Development Commission. The Broadband                                                       
28 Development Commission is established in the Department of Administration for the                                       
29 purpose of facilitating, upgrading, planning, and financing the installation, operation,                                
30       and promotion of effective use of a broadband system throughout the state.                                        
31 Sec. 44.21.515. Board of directors. (a) The commission consists of the                                                
01       following eight members:                                                                                          
02                 (1)  six voting members appointed by the governor and confirmed by                                      
03       the legislature as follows:                                                                                       
04                      (A)  one member who has expertise and experience in                                                
05            telehealth, telemedicine, and distance learning applications on broadband                                    
06            networks and services;                                                                                       
07                      (B)  one member who has expertise and experience in                                                
08            developing broadband technologies in unserved or underserved rural, insular,                                 
09            or high-cost areas;                                                                                          
10 (C)  one member who has expertise and experience in federal                                                             
11 assistance programs supporting the development of broadband facilities and                                              
12            affordability of broadband services;                                                                         
13 (D)  one member who has expertise and experience in                                                                     
14            promoting broadband adoption and education;                                                                  
15 (E)  two members who have expertise and experience in the                                                               
16            operation of a broadband network and offering broadband services;                                            
17                 (2)  two nonvoting members as follows:                                                                  
18 (A)  a member of the house of representatives appointed by the                                                          
19 speaker of the house of representatives and who serves at the pleasure of the                                           
20            speaker of the house of representatives; and                                                                 
21 (B)  a member of the senate appointed by the president of the                                                           
22            senate and who serves at the pleasure of the president of the senate.                                        
23 (b)  Except for the legislative members of the commission appointed under                                               
24 AS 44.21.515(a)(2), two or more members of the commission may not, during the                                           
25       member's term, be employed by the same entity.                                                                    
26 (c)  The commission shall annually elect a chair and other necessary officers                                           
27       from among its voting members.                                                                                    
28 (d)  The voting members of the commission appointed under (a)(1) of this                                                
29       section serve three-year terms and may be reappointed. Terms shall be staggered.                                  
30 (e)  A vacancy on the commission occurring other than by expiration of a term                                           
31 shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment, but for the unexpired                                   
01       term only.                                                                                                        
02 (f)  Four voting members of the commission appointed under this section                                                 
03 constitute a quorum for the transaction of business and the exercise of the powers and                                  
04 duties of the commission. The commission shall meet at least four times a year. A                                       
05 meeting of the commission shall occur at the call of the chair, or upon the written                                     
06       request of three voting members of the commission, and shall be open to the public.                               
07            (g)  Commission members do not receive a salary, but are entitled to per diem                                
08       and travel expenses authorized by law for other state boards and commissions under                                
09       AS 39.20.180.                                                                                                     
10 Sec. 44.21.520. Purposes and duties of the commission. (a) The purposes of                                            
11       the commission are                                                                                                
12 (1)  increasing and improving the availability, affordability, and                                                      
13 performance of broadband data services and broadband Internet access services in                                        
14 unserved and underserved areas of the state by lessening the barriers to entry posed by                                 
15 a lack of sufficient and affordable access to high-speed, low-latency connectivity                                      
16 between unserved and underserved customer areas and fiber-optic cables that connect                                     
17       to the Internet in the state; and                                                                                 
18 (2)  facilitating the development of competitive options for customers                                                  
19       in unserved and underserved areas.                                                                                
20            (b)  The commission shall                                                                                    
21 (1)  provide or enable affordable and nondiscriminatory access to high-                                                 
22 speed, low-latency telecommunications connectivity between points in the state that                                     
23 are unserved or underserved by high-speed, low-latency telecommunications                                               
24       connectivity to existing fiber-optic cables that connect to the Internet;                                         
25 (2)  deploy the necessary broadband networking facilities to provide                                                    
26 high-speed, low-latency telecommunications connectivity in a coordinated manner;                                        
27       and                                                                                                               
28 (3)  ensure the efficient use of state or other funds for the purposes                                                  
29       described in this subsection.                                                                                     
30 (c)  For the purposes listed in (a) of this section and AS 44.21.525, the                                               
31       commission may use                                                                                                
01                 (1)  federal financial assistance, including federal grant awards, loans,                               
02       and support from universal service support mechanisms authorized by the Federal                                   
03       Communications Commission; and                                                                                    
04                 (2)  sources of private or other funding or property.                                                   
05            (d)  Under (a) of this section, an area is unserved or underserved if the                                    
06       commission determines that                                                                                        
07 (1)  the terrestrial network facilities that connect the location to the                                                
08 Internet lack the sufficient high-speed, low-latency capacity to deliver service to all                                 
09 customers in that area at minimum speed and usage allowances that are reasonably                                        
10 comparable to those available in urban areas of the state and at rates and under terms                                  
11 and conditions that are reasonably comparable to those available in urban areas of the                                  
12       state; or                                                                                                         
13 (2)  most of the facilities in the area are owned or controlled by a single                                             
14       entity or affiliates of the entity.                                                                               
15            (e)  To make the determination under (d) of this section, the commission may                                 
16 (1)  determine and consider the current level of broadband Internet                                                     
17       access in urban and rural areas of the state;                                                                     
18 (2)  determine an acceptable level of broadband Internet access                                                         
19 throughout the state and in so doing may consider the findings of the Federal                                           
20 Communications Commission under 47 U.S.C. 1302(b) (sec. 706(b),                                                         
21       Telecommunications Act of 1996); or                                                                               
22 (3)  monitor the ongoing deployment and capacity of high-speed, low-                                                    
23 latency telecommunications transport network facilities between points in the state,                                    
24 including projects that are currently being developed and projects that are in the                                      
25       planning and predevelopment stage.                                                                                
26            Sec. 44.21.525. Powers of the commission. The commission may                                               
27 (1)  apply for and accept a gift, grant, or loan from a federal agency, an                                              
28 agency or instrumentality of the state or of a municipality, or a private source for the                                
29 purpose of planning, constructing, deploying, owning, operating, maintaining,                                           
30 repairing, or replacing broadband networking infrastructure in order to provide                                         
31 sufficient and affordable high-speed, low-latency connectivity between unserved and                                     
01       underserved customer areas and fiber-optic cables that connect to the Internet;                                   
02                 (2)  use a gift, grant, or loan accepted under (1) of this section to                                   
03 (A)  plan efficient routing and deployment of                                                                           
04 telecommunications facilities between points in the state that are unserved or                                          
05 underserved by high-speed, low-latency telecommunications connectivity to                                               
06            existing fiber-optic cables; or                                                                              
07                      (B)  construct, upgrade, install, own, or operate                                                  
08            telecommunications facilities described in (A) of this paragraph;                                            
09                 (3)  subject to the limitations in this paragraph, sell transmission                                    
10 services and lease capacity to retail providers of broadband data services and Internet                                 
11 access services at a wholesale price and on just, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory                                     
12 rates, terms, and conditions for the use of those retail providers to offer the services to                             
13 retail end-user customers in unserved and underserved areas; the commission may not                                     
14 enter into a sale or lease of capacity if, following the transaction, the purchaser or an                               
15 affiliate of the purchaser, at the time of the transaction, would own, operate, or                                      
16       otherwise control more than                                                                                       
17 (A)  one-third of the total terrestrial network capacity serving                                                        
18            the area; or                                                                                                 
19 (B)  one-half of the total terrestrial network capacity available                                                       
20            for sale to serve the area;                                                                                  
21 (4)  enter into a contract or other transaction with a federal agency, with                                             
22 an agency or instrumentality of the state or of a municipality, or with a private                                       
23       organization or other party;                                                                                      
24 (5)  employ appropriate consultative, technical, legal, clerical, and other                                             
25 personnel for the implementation of AS 44.21.510 - 44.21.530, within the limits of                                      
26       available funds;                                                                                                  
27 (6)  prepare and submit to the governor and the legislature, in                                                         
28 compliance with the state information systems plan adopted by the commissioner of                                       
29 administration, reports of the commission's activities, including changes in the number                                 
30 of areas that remain unserved or underserved by high-speed, low-latency                                                 
31 telecommunications connectivity to existing fiber-optic cables that connect to the                                      
01       Internet; and                                                                                                     
02                 (7)  take an action, not inconsistent with AS 44.21.520, as is necessary                                
03       to execute the function of the commission.                                                                        
04            Sec. 44.21.530. Definitions. In AS 44.21.510 - 44.21.530,                                                  
05                 (1)  "affiliate" means a person or entity that directly or indirectly owns                              
06       or controls, is owned or controlled by, or is under common ownership or control with,                             
07       another person or entity;                                                                                         
08                 (2)  "commission" means the Broadband Development Commission                                            
09       established under AS 44.21.210;                                                                                   
10                 (3)  "entity" means the controlling entity and its affiliates;                                          
11                 (4)  "own" means to own an equity interest of more than 10 percent.