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SSHB 246: "An Act creating the Alaska Broadband Development Corporation; and relating to the Regulatory Commission of Alaska."

00                  SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 246                                                              
01 "An Act creating the Alaska Broadband Development Corporation; and relating to the                                      
02 Regulatory Commission of Alaska."                                                                                       
03 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                                
04    * Section 1. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section                          
05 to read:                                                                                                                
06       LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS. The legislature finds that                                                                  
07 (1)  many communities in the state have limited access to the Internet because                                          
08 the communities lack broadband and advanced telecommunications that enable high-speed                                   
09 access to the Internet necessary to support modern civic, governmental, cultural, economic                              
10 development, health care, public safety, educational, and community resources;                                          
11 (2)  although the state is connected to the rest of the world through several                                           
12 fiber-optic cables, many areas in the state lack sufficient access to affordable broadband data                         
13 services and broadband Internet access services because of insufficient connectivity to fiber-                          
14 optic cables;                                                                                                           
01 (3)  removing barriers to broadband deployment by using a technology and                                                
02 competitively neutral approach will encourage lower prices for broadband service, expand                                
03 availability, and offer more choices to consumers;                                                                      
04 (4)  access to broadband and advanced telecommunications services                                                       
05 throughout the state is essential for the state to keep pace with global changes in economic                            
06 diversification, education, health care, energy and environmental technology, and public                                
07 safety;                                                                                                                 
08 (5)  affordable and nondiscriminatory access is necessary to support                                                    
09 investment in and development of accessible broadband networks in the state and action                                  
10 should be taken to ensure that broadband services are affordable and reasonably comparable                              
11 in all areas of the state;                                                                                              
12 (6)  insufficient and unaffordable Internet connectivity between unserved or                                            
13 underserved locations and existing fiber-optic cables that provide high-speed Internet service                          
14 is the greatest and most costly obstacle to wider deployment of broadband and advanced                                  
15 telecommunications services in remote areas of the state;                                                               
16 (7)  funding from federal, private, or other sources is essential to offset the                                         
17 high cost of deployment, ownership, and operation of facilities providing Internet                                      
18 connectivity; and                                                                                                       
19 (8)  a coordinated approach is necessary to ensure that facilities that provide                                         
20 Internet connectivity are deployed efficiently and have sufficient capacity to reach unserved                           
21 and underserved areas of the state and that Internet connectivity is made available on a                                
22 nondiscriminatory basis to all potential users and service providers.                                                   
23    * Sec. 2. AS 42.05.145 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:                                              
24 (c)  Upon application, the commission shall designate the Alaska Broadband                                              
25 Development Corporation, established in AS 44.21.510 - 44.21.530, as an eligible                                        
26       telecommunications carrier for the purposes of 47 U.S.C. 214(e).                                                  
27    * Sec. 3. AS 42.05.990(6) is amended to read:                                                                      
28 (6)  "public utility" or "utility" includes every corporation whether                                                   
29 public, cooperative, or otherwise, company, individual, or association of individuals,                                  
30 their lessees, trustees, or receivers appointed by a court, that owns, operates, manages,                               
31       or controls any plant, pipeline, or system for                                                                    
01                      (A)  furnishing, by generation, transmission, or distribution,                                     
02            electrical service to the public for compensation;                                                           
03                      (B)  furnishing telecommunications service, including                                          
04            broadband Internet access, to the public for compensation;                                               
05                      (C)  furnishing water, steam, or sewer service to the public for                                   
06            compensation;                                                                                                
07                      (D)  furnishing by transmission or distribution of natural or                                      
08            manufactured gas to the public for compensation;                                                             
09                      (E)  furnishing for distribution or by distribution petroleum or                                   
10 petroleum products to the public for compensation when the consumer has no                                              
11 alternative in the choice of supplier of a comparable product and service at an                                         
12            equal or lesser price;                                                                                       
13 (F)  furnishing collection and disposal service of garbage,                                                             
14            refuse, trash, or other waste material to the public for compensation;                                       
15 (G)  furnishing the service of natural gas storage to the public                                                        
16            for compensation;                                                                                            
17 (H)  furnishing the service of liquefied natural gas storage to the                                                     
18            public for compensation;                                                                                     
19    * Sec. 4. AS 42.05.990 is amended by adding a new paragraph to read:                                               
20 (14)  "broadband Internet access" means high-speed Internet access that                                                 
21       is always on and that is faster than traditional dial-up access.                                                  
22    * Sec. 5. AS 44.21 is amended by adding new sections to read:                                                      
23              Article 7. Alaska Broadband Development Corporation.                                                     
24 Sec. 44.21.510. Alaska Broadband Development Corporation established;                                                 
25 purpose. (a) The Alaska Broadband Development Corporation is established. The                                         
26 corporation is a public corporation and instrumentality of the state within the                                         
27 Department of Administration. The exercise by the corporation of the powers in                                          
28 AS 44.21.510 - 44.21.530 is considered an essential governmental function of the                                        
29       state.                                                                                                            
30 (b)  The purpose of the corporation is to facilitate, upgrade, plan, and finance                                        
31 the installation, operation, and promotion of effective use of a broadband system                                       
01       throughout the state.                                                                                             
02            Sec. 44.21.515. Board of directors. (a) The corporation is governed by a                                   
03       board of directors. The board consists of the following eight members:                                            
04                 (1)  six voting members appointed by the governor as follows:                                           
05                      (A)  one member who has expertise and experience in                                                
06            telehealth, telemedicine, and distance learning applications on broadband                                    
07            networks and services;                                                                                       
08                      (B)  one member who has expertise and experience in                                                
09            developing broadband technologies in unserved or underserved rural, insular,                                 
10            or high-cost areas;                                                                                          
11 (C)  one member who has expertise and experience in federal                                                             
12 assistance programs supporting the development of broadband facilities and                                              
13            affordability of broadband services;                                                                         
14 (D)  one member who has expertise and experience in                                                                     
15            promoting broadband adoption and education;                                                                  
16 (E)  two members who have expertise and experience in the                                                               
17            operation of a broadband network and offering broadband services;                                            
18                 (2)  two nonvoting members as follows:                                                                  
19 (A)  a member of the house of representatives appointed by the                                                          
20 speaker of the house of representatives and who serves at the pleasure of the                                           
21            speaker of the house of representatives; and                                                                 
22 (B)  a member of the senate appointed by the president of the                                                           
23            senate and who serves at the pleasure of the president of the senate.                                        
24 (b)  Except for the legislative members of the board appointed under (a)(2) of                                          
25 this section, two or more members of the board may not, during the member's term, be                                    
26       employed by the same entity.                                                                                      
27 (c)  The board shall annually elect a chair and other necessary officers from                                           
28       among its voting members.                                                                                         
29 (d)  The voting members of the board appointed under (a)(1) of this section                                             
30 serve three-year terms and may be reappointed. Terms shall be staggered as provided                                     
31       in AS 39.05.055. The voting members serve at the pleasure of the governor.                                        
01 (e)  A vacancy on the board occurring other than by expiration of a term shall                                          
02 be filled in the same manner as the original appointment, but for the unexpired term                                    
03       only.                                                                                                             
04 (f)  Four voting members of the board appointed under this section constitute a                                         
05 quorum for the transaction of business and the exercise of the powers and duties of the                                 
06 board. The board shall meet at least four times a year. A meeting of the board shall                                    
07 occur at the call of the chair, or upon the written request of three voting members of                                  
08       the board, and shall be open to the public.                                                                       
09 (g)  Board members do not receive a salary, but are entitled to per diem and                                            
10       travel expenses authorized under AS 39.20.180.                                                                    
11 Sec. 44.21.520. Purposes and duties of the corporation. (a) The purposes of                                           
12       the corporation are                                                                                               
13 (1)  increasing and improving the availability, affordability, and                                                      
14 performance of broadband data services and broadband Internet access services in                                        
15 unserved and underserved areas of the state by lessening the barriers to entry posed by                                 
16 a lack of sufficient and affordable access to high-speed, low-latency connectivity                                      
17 between unserved and underserved customer areas and fiber-optic cables that connect                                     
18       to the Internet in the state; and                                                                                 
19 (2)  facilitating the development of competitive options for customers                                                  
20       in unserved and underserved areas.                                                                                
21            (b)  The corporation shall                                                                                   
22 (1)  provide or enable affordable and nondiscriminatory access to high-                                                 
23 speed, low-latency telecommunications connectivity between points in the state that                                     
24 are unserved or underserved by high-speed, low-latency telecommunications                                               
25       connectivity to existing fiber-optic cables that connect to the Internet;                                         
26 (2)  deploy the necessary broadband networking facilities to provide                                                    
27 high-speed, low-latency telecommunications connectivity in a coordinated manner;                                        
28       and                                                                                                               
29 (3)  ensure the efficient use of state or other funds for the purposes                                                  
30       described in this subsection.                                                                                     
31 (c)  For the purposes listed in (a) of this section and AS 44.21.525, the                                               
01       corporation may use                                                                                               
02                 (1)  federal financial assistance, including federal grant awards, loans,                               
03       and support from universal service support mechanisms authorized by the Federal                                   
04       Communications Commission; and                                                                                    
05                 (2)  sources of private or other funding or property.                                                   
06            (d)  Under (a) of this section, an area is unserved or underserved if the                                    
07       corporation determines that                                                                                       
08                 (1)  the terrestrial network facilities that connect the location to the                                
09       Internet lack the sufficient high-speed, low-latency capacity to deliver service to all                           
10 customers in that area at minimum speed and usage allowances that are reasonably                                        
11 comparable to those available in urban areas of the state and at rates and under terms                                  
12 and conditions that are reasonably comparable to those available in urban areas of the                                  
13       state; or                                                                                                         
14 (2)  most of the facilities in the area are owned or controlled by a single                                             
15       entity or affiliates of the entity.                                                                               
16            (e)  To make the determination under (d) of this section, the corporation may                                
17 (1)  determine and consider the current level of broadband Internet                                                     
18       access in urban and rural areas of the state;                                                                     
19 (2)  determine an acceptable level of broadband Internet access                                                         
20 throughout the state and in so doing may consider the findings of the Federal                                           
21 Communications Commission under 47 U.S.C. 1302(b) (sec. 706(b),                                                         
22       Telecommunications Act of 1996); or                                                                               
23 (3)  monitor the ongoing deployment and capacity of high-speed, low-                                                    
24 latency telecommunications transport network facilities between points in the state,                                    
25 including projects that are currently being developed and projects that are in the                                      
26       planning and predevelopment stage.                                                                                
27            Sec. 44.21.525. Powers of the corporation. The corporation may                                             
28 (1)  apply for and accept a gift, grant, or loan from a federal agency, an                                              
29 agency or instrumentality of the state or of a municipality, or a private source for the                                
30 purpose of planning, constructing, deploying, owning, operating, maintaining,                                           
31 repairing, or replacing broadband networking infrastructure in order to provide                                         
01       sufficient and affordable high-speed, low-latency connectivity between unserved and                               
02       underserved customer areas and fiber-optic cables that connect to the Internet;                                   
03                 (2)  use a gift, grant, or loan accepted under (1) of this section to                                   
04 (A)  plan efficient routing and deployment of                                                                           
05 telecommunications facilities between points in the state that are unserved or                                          
06 underserved by high-speed, low-latency telecommunications connectivity to                                               
07            existing fiber-optic cables; or                                                                              
08                      (B)  construct, upgrade, install, own, or operate                                                  
09            telecommunications facilities described in (A) of this paragraph;                                            
10 (3)  subject to the limitations in this paragraph, sell transmission                                                    
11 services and lease capacity to retail providers of broadband data services and Internet                                 
12 access services at a wholesale price and on just, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory                                     
13 rates, terms, and conditions for the use of those retail providers to offer the services to                             
14 retail end-user customers in unserved and underserved areas; the corporation may not                                    
15 enter into a sale or lease of capacity if, following the transaction, the purchaser or an                               
16 affiliate of the purchaser, at the time of the transaction, would own, operate, or                                      
17       otherwise control more than                                                                                       
18 (A)  one-third of the total terrestrial network capacity serving                                                        
19            the area; or                                                                                                 
20 (B)  one-half of the total terrestrial network capacity available                                                       
21            for sale to serve the area;                                                                                  
22 (4)  enter into a contract or other transaction with a federal agency, with                                             
23 an agency or instrumentality of the state or of a municipality, or with a private                                       
24       organization or other party;                                                                                      
25 (5)  employ appropriate consultative, technical, legal, clerical, and other                                             
26 personnel for the implementation of AS 44.21.510 - 44.21.530, within the limits of                                      
27       available funds;                                                                                                  
28 (6)  prepare and submit to the governor and the legislature, in                                                         
29 compliance with the state information systems plan adopted by the commissioner of                                       
30 administration, reports of the corporation's activities, including changes in the number                                
31 of areas that remain unserved or underserved by high-speed, low-latency                                                 
01       telecommunications connectivity to existing fiber-optic cables that connect to the                                
02       Internet; and                                                                                                     
03                 (7)  take an action, not inconsistent with AS 44.21.520, as is necessary                                
04       to execute the function of the corporation.                                                                       
05            Sec. 44.21.530. Definitions. In AS 44.21.510 - 44.21.530,                                                  
06                 (1)  "affiliate" means a person or entity that directly or indirectly owns                              
07       or controls, is owned or controlled by, or is under common ownership or control with,                             
08       another person or entity;                                                                                         
09                 (2)  "corporation" means the Alaska Broadband Development                                               
10       Corporation established under AS 44.21.510;                                                                       
11                 (3)  "entity" means the controlling entity and its affiliates;                                          
12                 (4)  "own" means to own an equity interest of more than 10 percent.