Legislature(2021 - 2022)BARNES 124

05/13/2021 08:00 AM COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Recessed to 9:15 am --
+ SB 95 SEARCH AND RESCUE SURPLUS STATE PROPERTY TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 95(STA) Out of Committee
+ SJR 13 IMPROVE BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS TELECONFERENCED
Moved HCS CSSJR 13(CRA) Out of Committee
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
            SJR 13-IMPROVE BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:06:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SCHRAGE announced that the  next order of business would                                                               
be  CS  FOR  SENATE  JOINT  RESOLUTION  NO.  13(CRA),  Supporting                                                               
broadband deployment  in the state;  recognizing the  benefits of                                                               
broadband;  urging facilitation  of broadband  deployment; urging                                                               
engagement  with  stakeholders;  urging   the  development  of  a                                                               
temporary centralized, technology-neutral  broadband and Internet                                                               
access  working group  in  the state;  urging  the United  States                                                               
Congress  to include  broadband  in  2021 federal  infrastructure                                                               
legislation;  urging  broadband  providers to  use  savings  from                                                               
federal infrastructure  legislation to provide  broadband service                                                               
at a  reduced rate to  the state and its  political subdivisions;                                                               
and  urging the  Alaska delegation  in Congress  to advocate  for                                                               
flexible broadband funding parameters.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:06:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  HANNAN  moved to  adopt  the  proposed House  committee                                                               
substitute   (HCS)  for   CSSJR  13(CRA),   Version  32-LS0756\G,                                                               
Bullard/Klein, 5/10/21, as a work draft.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:07:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SCHRAGE objected for discussion purposes.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:07:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RYAN  JOHNSTON,  Staff,  Representative  Calvin  Schrage,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  offered a summary  of changes made  under the                                                               
proposed  HCS for  CSSJR  13(CRA).   The  summary  of changes  is                                                               
included in  the committee packet  and read as  follows [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page  2, Line  6    8 Add:  Whereas a  strong broadband                                                                  
     network  across  the  state would  provide  the  robust                                                                    
     command   and  control   infrastructure  required   for                                                                    
     routine  unmanned aircraft  operations,  such as  cargo                                                                    
     and medical supply delivery, to remote communities;                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2,  Line 16    17  Add: Whereas  quality broadband                                                                  
     services  are  necessary  for  the  support  of  Alaska                                                                    
     research  facilities and  centers  of higher  education                                                                    
     which are critical to the advancement of the state;                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page  3,  Line  30:  replaces Leon  Morgan  with  James                                                                  
     Cockrell as  Commissioner of  the Alaska  Department of                                                                    
     Public   Safety  in   the   recipients   list  on   the                                                                    
     resolution.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:08:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SCHRAGE  removed his  objection to  the motion  to adopt                                                               
the proposed House committee substitute  (HCS) for CSSJR 13(CRA),                                                               
Version  32-LS0756\G, Bullard/Klein,  5/10/21, as  a work  draft.                                                               
There  being  no further  objection,  Version  G was  before  the                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:08:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAWSON  MANN,   Staff,  Senator  Shelley  Hughes,   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, presented SJR  13 on behalf of  the Senate Community                                                               
and  Regional  Affairs  Standing  Committee,  sponsor,  on  which                                                               
Senator  Hughes  serves  as  chair.   He  presented  the  sponsor                                                               
statement,   which   read   as  follows   [original   punctuation                                                               
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     It  is well  known that  in  many parts  of the  state,                                                                    
     internet access is  scarce at best. In  regions such as                                                                    
     the unorganized borough, the  internet can be extremely                                                                    
     limited,  slow, and  prohibitive in  terms of  cost. In                                                                    
     order  for these  regions to  grow  and increase  their                                                                    
     autonomy,  an  economic  base  is  fundamental.  Alaska                                                                    
     certainly faces  unique challenges to keep  up with the                                                                    
     rest  of  the  developed world,  considering  that  our                                                                    
     communities are  often separated by vast  distances and                                                                    
     geographical  impediments. These  facts, combined  with                                                                    
     winter  weather,  relatively  low  business  demand  in                                                                    
     certain  areas, and  limited  daylight  hours half  the                                                                    
     year,  are  all  challenges  not only  to  the  initial                                                                    
     deployment of  services, but  to the  ongoing operation                                                                    
     and maintenance which can entail exorbitant costs.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     As   internet  becomes   more   readily  available   in                                                                    
     particular regions  of the state,  we see  its benefits                                                                    
     in  education,   healthcare,  and   commerce.  Improved                                                                    
     broadband in areas of Alaska  where the capacity is now                                                                    
     slow  and  limited  could bring  us  similar  benefits.                                                                    
     Senate Joint  Resolution 13 aims  to address  the issue                                                                    
     of    broadband    access,   speed,    capacity,    and                                                                    
     affordability  in  the  state  by  urging  Congress  to                                                                    
     include  the "information  highway" in  any forthcoming                                                                    
     federal  infrastructure  legislation,  just  as  roads,                                                                    
     bridges,  ports, and  other  projects  essential for  a                                                                    
     functional and vibrant society are included.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Passage of SJR  13 would send a clear  message that the                                                                    
     legislature  firmly  supports broadband  deployment  in                                                                    
     the state, recognizes the  benefits of broadband, urges                                                                    
     engagement  with  stakeholders throughout  Alaska,  and                                                                    
     requests   technology-neutral   and  flexible   funding                                                                    
     criteria in federal  appropriation legislation to allow                                                                    
     for Alaska's unique terrain and size.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. MANN  brought attention  to the "be  it resolved"  portion of                                                               
the  joint  resolution, [which  is  found  on  page 2,  line  18,                                                               
through page 3,  line 13, of the proposed HCS,  Version G, and is                                                               
the same as the "be it  resolved" portion of CSSJR 13(CRA), which                                                               
is found on  page 2, line 13,  through page 3, line  8, and which                                                               
read as follows]:                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
          BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature                                                                    
     supports widespread  broadband deployment in  the state                                                                    
     and  urges  the  Governor's administration  to  support                                                                    
     broadband  deployment through  right-of-way access  and                                                                    
     by  streamlining,   consistent  with  state   law,  the                                                                    
     authorization and  environmental permitting  and review                                                                    
     processes  required for  the construction  of broadband                                                                    
     facilities; and be it                                                                                                      
          FURTHER   RESOLVED    that   the    Alaska   State                                                                  
     Legislature  urges  the  Governor's  administration  to                                                                    
     ensure that no unnecessary  or burdensome fees, such as                                                                    
     increased permit or  right-of-way fees, consistent with                                                                    
     state law,  become barriers or roadblocks  to broadband                                                                    
     deployment; and be it                                                                                                      
          FURTHER   RESOLVED    that   the    Alaska   State                                                                  
     Legislature  urges  the  Governor's  administration  to                                                                    
     engage  with  and  seek input  from  all  stakeholders,                                                                    
     including  broadband providers  and  consumers, in  the                                                                    
     state   before  making   policy  changes   that  affect                                                                    
     broadband providers or consumers; and be it                                                                                
          FURTHER   RESOLVED    that   the    Alaska   State                                                                  
     Legislature  urges  the  Governor's  administration  to                                                                    
     create  a   temporary  centralized,  technology-neutral                                                                    
     broadband and Internet access  working group to provide                                                                    
     all Alaskans an equal seat at the table; and be it                                                                         
          FURTHER   RESOLVED    that   the    Alaska   State                                                                  
     Legislature  urges   the  United  States   Congress  to                                                                    
     include broadband,  the "information highway,"  in 2021                                                                    
     federal infrastructure  legislation, along  with roads,                                                                    
     bridges,  ports, and  other  projects  essential for  a                                                                    
     functional and vibrant society; and be it                                                                                  
          FURTHER   RESOLVED    that   the    Alaska   State                                                                  
     Legislature  urges broadband  providers to  use savings                                                                    
     from    federal    infrastructure   legislation    that                                                                    
     appropriates  public  funds  for  the  installation  or                                                                    
     improvement     of     privately    owned     broadband                                                                    
     infrastructure  to  provide   broadband  service  at  a                                                                    
     reduced   rate  to   the   state   and  its   political                                                                    
     subdivisions; and be it                                                                                                    
          FURTHER   RESOLVED    that   the    Alaska   State                                                                  
     Legislature urges the Alaska  delegation in Congress to                                                                    
     advocate  for  flexible  broadband  funding  parameters                                                                    
     given the unique challenges in the state.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MANN  concluded   by  noting  where  copies   of  the  joint                                                               
resolution would  be sent [shown on  page 3, lines 9-30  of CSSJR
13(CRA)  and, with  some additions,  shown on  page 3,  lines 14,                                                               
through page 4, line 4 of the proposed HCS, Version G].                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:13:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTINE   O'CONNOR,   Executive    Director,   Alaska   Telecom                                                               
Association (ATA), offered a PowerPoint presentation [hard copy                                                                 
included in  the committee  packet].   She directed  attention to                                                               
slide  2, which  showed  a list  of  ATA's members,  Alaska-based                                                               
companies  that   provide  landlines,  wireless,   and  broadband                                                               
service  throughout Alaska.   She  noted that  ATA was  formed in                                                               
1949 and has been supporting its member companies ever since.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. O'CONNOR turned attention to  slide 3, "New Last Mile," which                                                               
she  defined as  the connection  from the  broadband provider  to                                                               
homes  and  businesses.    As   shown  on  the  slide,  she  said                                                               
approximately 60,000  locations had been upgraded  or deployed in                                                               
recent years.   She gave  examples of recent  projects concluded:                                                               
Alaska  Communications  brought  high-speed  Internet  to  16,000                                                               
rural  Alaska  residents since  2017;  Alaska  Power &  Telephone                                                               
completed  high-speed   deployments  in  Interior   and  multiple                                                               
locations in Southeast Alaska; Copper  Valley Telecom completed a                                                               
"fiber  to  the  home"  project  in  Tatitlek,  Alaska;  and  GCI                                                               
increased wireless speeds in  Dillingham, Alaska, and surrounding                                                               
communities.   She said this  is a  small sample of  the activity                                                               
happening now.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. O'CONNOR  showed slide  4, "New Middle  Mile," and  said both                                                               
last mile and middle mile is  necessary to provide Internet.  She                                                               
listed  some  middle mile  projects.    One  was Alaska  Power  &                                                               
Telephone constructing an undersea  table between Juneau, Haines,                                                               
and Skagway, Alaska,  and doubling the capacity  of its microwave                                                               
network between  Juneau and Ketchikan,  Alaska.  The  company was                                                               
recently awarded a grant to  run an undersea fiber between Juneau                                                               
and Prince of Wales Island.   Another example was Cordova Telecom                                                               
extending  its  microwave network  in  Prince  William Sound  and                                                               
recently being awarded  a grant to extend a  microwave network to                                                               
Yakutat, Alaska.   She  said GCI added  capacity to  42 microwave                                                               
sites in Western  Alaska and was awarded a grant  to run undersea                                                               
fiber  to  Unalaska.   She  relayed  that KPU  Telecom  completed                                                               
"Ketchikan  1,"   the  first   undersea  connection   to  Canada.                                                               
Matanuska  Telephone   Association  constructed  the   "Alcan  1"                                                               
project, which  was the first  terrestrial fiber  connection from                                                               
Alaska   into  Canada.     Finally,   she  noted   that  Nushagak                                                               
Cooperative  completed   a  major  extension  of   its  microwave                                                               
network.   She  pointed  out that  both  the Matanuska  Telephone                                                               
Association and  KPU projects provide  new routes from  Alaska to                                                               
the  Lower  48,  which  not  only expands  the  capacity  of  the                                                               
networks  but also  "provides important  geographic diversity  in                                                               
case of disaster."   She said there are still  gaps, but they are                                                               
being closed year by year.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:17:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. O'CONNOR  moved on to  slide 5, which addresses  the proposed                                                               
legislation  and  the topics  of  rights  of way,  access,  fees,                                                               
engagement,  and   infrastructure.     She  stated   that  Alaska                                                               
broadband  providers are  "working  at a  furious  pace to  bring                                                               
broadband  to  everyone."   She  said  the  proposed  legislation                                                               
correctly notes  that ATA members  have invested over  $1 billion                                                               
in capital expenditures just since  2017.  She acknowledged there                                                               
is  still much  to do,  and said  the proposed  legislation makes                                                               
important recommendations  that would help  accelerate deployment                                                               
through  timely permit  approval  and reasonable  fees; it  urges                                                               
continued access  to rights of  way and a  streamlined permitting                                                               
process; and it recognizes burdensome  fees and surcharges hinder                                                               
broadband  deployment   and  urges   the  elimination   of  these                                                               
barriers, which she said is critical.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  O'CONNOR  said  the  proposed  legislation  also  urges  the                                                               
governor's administration to seek  input from broadband providers                                                               
regarding policy  changes, which  she said  is critical  for this                                                               
complex landscape.  She noted  that broadband providers are eager                                                               
to share  their expertise.   She said ATA commends  Governor Mike                                                               
Dunleavy  for  the formation  of  the  Governor's Task  Force  on                                                               
Broadband.    She  said  the   proposed  joint  resolution  urges                                                               
Congress to  recognize that broadband  is infrastructure  and the                                                               
congressional delegation  to support flexible  funding mechanisms                                                               
which  recognize Alaska's  unique  circumstances.   She said  ATA                                                               
supports these positions and offers its support.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:20:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX  asked for confirmation that  "the underlying                                                               
goal of this is laying fiber optic cables from here to there."                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  O'CONNOR  said  the  simple   answered  is,  "Yes,  wherever                                                               
possible."    She said  fiber  optic  cable provides  "tremendous                                                               
capacity  and very  fast  speeds."   She said  in  some parts  of                                                               
Alaska it has been too expensive  to lay fiber optic cable; there                                                               
are  a  lot  of  microwave   networks,  which  also  can  provide                                                               
highspeed broadband; however, she emphasized  the goal is "to run                                                               
fiber wherever possible."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX  asked how this would  interface with efforts                                                               
to establish a satellite system.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. O'CONNOR answered that ATA's  networks already have satellite                                                               
service embedded,  as it  is integral to  service in  many remote                                                               
areas.  She said she  anticipates any upgraded satellite capacity                                                               
to be integrated into the networks.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:22:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MANN pointed  out that the proposed joint  resolution is "100                                                               
percent  technology neutral."   It  does not  make a  distinction                                                               
between fiber  optics and satellite; the  term "broadband" refers                                                               
to any Internet that is not  dial-up.  He emphasized the point in                                                               
remaining neutral is  that the intent of the  joint resolution is                                                               
to get  Internet service  to rural areas,  not to  choose winners                                                               
and losers among Internet providers.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:23:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCCABE  noted that Ms. O'Connor  had mentioned the                                                               
middle mile and last mile, and he asked what the first mile is.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  O'CONNOR  answered  that  that   depends  on  the  area  and                                                               
available technology.  Connections can change from start to end.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:25:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RYAN PONDER,  Director, Legal  and Regulatory  Affairs, Matanuska                                                               
Telephone   Association,  paraphrased   his  letter   of  support                                                               
[included in the committee packet], which read as follows:                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Matanuska Telephone  Association, Inc.  (MTA), supports                                                                    
     Senate  Joint Resolution  13  advocating for  increased                                                                    
     broadband deployment  in the state to  improve internet                                                                    
     access.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Established  in  1953, MTA  is  a  100 percent  Alaskan                                                                    
     locally  owned  and  operated cooperative  serving  and                                                                    
     supporting thousands of  Alaskans. Headquartered in the                                                                    
     Matanuska-Susitna  Borough,  MTA focuses  on  providing                                                                    
     and    extending   reliable    broadband   connectivity                                                                    
     throughout its  service area. Sometimes, it's  not only                                                                    
     terrestrial challenges that must  be overcome, but also                                                                    
     burdensome  fees and  cumbersome permitting  processes.                                                                    
     That's why SJR13 is so important and so timely.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     If  adopted  and  implemented, SJR13  will  help  MTA's                                                                    
     member-owners  stay  connected  to  family,  community,                                                                    
     healthcare,  education,  employment, and  commerce  and                                                                    
     will  ensure this  connectivity well  into the  future.                                                                    
     SJR13 accurately  portrays the essential  lifeline that                                                                    
     broadband  has become  for our  society and  encourages                                                                    
     the   removal   of   state-imposed   right-of-way   and                                                                    
     permitting roadblocks; seeks  broadband providers input                                                                    
     before  making  policy  changes;  and  calls  upon  the                                                                    
     United  States Congress  to  include  broadband in  the                                                                    
     2021  federal infrastructure  legislation coupled  with                                                                    
     urging our  Alaska delegation to advocate  for flexible                                                                    
     funding parameters.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     The call  to action  outlined in  SJR13 will  assist in                                                                    
     future proofing  the way  Alaskans stay  connected. MTA                                                                    
     supports SJR13.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:27:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LESIL MCGUIRE,  Consultant, OneWeb,  testified in support  of SJR
13.   She stated  that OneWeb  is the  first licensed,  low earth                                                               
orbit satellite constellation project.   It is launching hundreds                                                               
of  satellites [worldwide]  to  connect to  a  network of  ground                                                               
stations.  She explained that  the goal is "to deliver resilient,                                                               
high-speed, low  latency, seamless  broadband to  the unconnected                                                               
and  under-connected people  all across  the globe."   She  added                                                               
that  OneWeb is  beginning  its services  in  Alaska first,  then                                                               
completing polar and  Alaska coverage with its June  25 launch of                                                               
34 more satellites.   She expressed OneWeb's  appreciation of the                                                               
sponsor.   She said  SJR 13 would  make important  findings about                                                               
the  effect an  improved broadband  infrastructure could  have on                                                               
Alaskans.  Further, it identifies  steps Congress can take toward                                                               
infrastructure  funding,  urges  the governor's  office  to  seek                                                               
input from broadband providers before  making policy changes that                                                               
impact  those  providers,  and urges  the  Alaska  delegation  to                                                               
advocate for flexible broadband funding parameters.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. MCGUIRE emphasized  the important of "that  middle mile" that                                                               
has eluded so many in Alaska.   She said, "It has been since 2019                                                               
that the legislature  has weighed in on broadband  policy in such                                                               
a focused  and deep  manner, and  much has  changed in  that time                                                               
period."   She said satellite  projects, like OneWeb  and others,                                                               
now  are bringing  new means  of connectivity.   She  said OneWeb                                                               
appreciates  the technology  neutral approach  taken in  crafting                                                               
SJR 13  and encourages the  House Community and  Regional Affairs                                                               
Standing Committee to  pass the proposed joint  resolution out of                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:30:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SCHRAGE opened public testimony on SJR 13.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:30:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARGE STONEKING,  Alaska Advocacy  Director, AARP  Alaska, stated                                                               
that  AARP, as  a  nonpartisan/nonprofit organization  advocating                                                               
for  elders  and  their  families,  supports  the  goals  of  the                                                               
proposed joint resolution.   She stated, "Ubiquitous, affordable,                                                               
reliable, highspeed  Internet access can benefit  all segments of                                                               
our  society,  including  seniors."   Elders  who  have  reliable                                                               
broadband  can  age  "in  place"  because  they  have  access  to                                                               
telehealth,    civic   engagement,    entrepreneurial   pursuits,                                                               
teleworking,  social  connection,  educational  opportunity,  and                                                               
vital assistance  programs.   She said  older Alaskans  have been                                                               
falling  increasingly  behind   in  digital  connectivity,  which                                                               
negatively effects  their health  and wellbeing.   Poor broadband                                                               
functionality  not  only  leads   to  disconnection  from  social                                                               
services   and   applications   ("apps")  that   manage   chronic                                                               
conditions, but  also leads  to risk  of social  isolation, which                                                               
has  been linked  to  poor health  outcomes,  reduced quality  of                                                               
life, and  premature death.   For these  reasons, she  said, AARP                                                               
urges passage of the proposed joint resolution.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  STONEKING recommended  the next  step be  the creation  of a                                                               
state broadband  office in the Department  of Commerce, Community                                                               
&  Economic  Development (DCCED)  or  the  Denali Commission,  as                                                               
recommended  in  "the  2019  blueprint."   She  said  the  Alaska                                                               
Broadband  Access Task  Force previously  served  the purpose  of                                                               
bringing  stakeholders  together to  set  goals,  and the  Denali                                                               
Commission updated the blueprint  in 2019; however, no designated                                                               
entity  exists to  oversee  the implementation  of  the plan,  to                                                               
engage with both  providers and consumers, and  "to ensure equity                                                               
and  accountability in  federal funding  decisions."   She listed                                                               
recommendations  for the  focus of  a dedicated  broadband office                                                               
that  could  help policy  makers  make  informed decisions  about                                                               
reducing  and  ultimately  eliminating  "the  digital  divide  in                                                               
Alaska."                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:33:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SCHRAGE,  after ascertaining there  was no one  else who                                                               
wished to testify, closed public testimony on SJR 13.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
[SJR 13 was  held over and taken  up again later the  same day at                                                               
the call  back to  order following  a recess to  the call  of the                                                               
chair.]                                                                                                                         
            SJR 13-IMPROVE BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:20:23 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  SCHRAGE  announced that  the  final  order of  business                                                               
would  be  a  return  to   discussion  of  CS  FOR  SENATE  JOINT                                                               
RESOLUTION NO.  13(CRA), Supporting  broadband deployment  in the                                                               
state;   recognizing   the    benefits   of   broadband;   urging                                                               
facilitation  of  broadband  deployment; urging  engagement  with                                                               
stakeholders; urging the development  of a temporary centralized,                                                               
technology-neutral  broadband and  Internet access  working group                                                               
in  the  state; urging  the  United  States Congress  to  include                                                               
broadband  in  2021  federal infrastructure  legislation;  urging                                                               
broadband providers  to use  savings from  federal infrastructure                                                               
legislation to  provide broadband  service at  a reduced  rate to                                                               
the state and  its political subdivisions; and  urging the Alaska                                                               
delegation  in  Congress  to   advocate  for  flexible  broadband                                                               
funding parameters.   [Before  the committee,  adopted as  a work                                                               
draft during  the earlier  portion of the  meeting that  day, was                                                               
the proposed House committee substitute  (HCS) for CSSJR 13(CRA),                                                               
Version 32-LS0756\G, Bullard/Klein, 5/10/21 ("Version G").]                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:21:14 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PRAX recalled  when  the  Rural Alaska  Telephone                                                               
Network ("RAT-Net") appeared in  the 1970s, which changed culture                                                               
in villages.   He asked  the committee to recognize  "where we're                                                               
going."  He pointed out there is  "kind of a scar up and down the                                                               
Dalton  Highway from  a fiber  optic  installation that  probably                                                               
didn't have enough  thought put into it."  He  said technology is                                                               
wonderful, but he asked for recognition  that "it is not the end-                                                               
all and be-all."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:22:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR HANNAN  said while  she is  not debating  or disagreeing                                                               
with Representative  Prax, she pointed  to the global  economy of                                                               
the  Twenty-First Century  and its  means to  provide opportunity                                                               
for  people to  work "from  anywhere," if  the infrastructure  is                                                               
provided.   She suggested that providing  Internet infrastructure                                                               
would  be   more  economical  in   the  long  term   compared  to                                                               
"transportation,  water,  and  ... electricity."    And  although                                                               
"we're  going to  still do  those  things," she  said she  thinks                                                               
increasing  Internet  and  broadband capacity  throughout  Alaska                                                               
would change  the economy  of remote parts  of the  state faster.                                                               
She stated,  "The more  Internet-capable we  are, the  better our                                                               
economy can grow."                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:25:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND shared  that  when  schools switched  to                                                               
online learning because  of COVID-19, she saw  the huge disparity                                                               
in schools'  connectivity.  She recognized  that some communities                                                               
do  not  have  water,  but  pointed  out  that  without  Internet                                                               
connectivity,  [an artist  or craftsperson]  cannot reach  out by                                                               
Internet  to sell  his/her art,  for example.   She  said health,                                                               
education,  and commerce  rely on  connectedness,  and "the  last                                                               
thing we  want to do  ... is force  villages to have  to consider                                                               
... moving to urban Alaska."   She added, "We need to bring these                                                               
services to them."   She mentioned there was a  low-cost idea for                                                               
bringing  electricity across  Western  Alaska that  did not  gain                                                               
traction.   She opined,  "We need  to be open  to these  kinds of                                                               
technologies."   She  expressed delight  that Congress  had named                                                               
broadband a critical piece of infrastructure.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:28:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR HANNAN moved  to report [HCS CSSJR  13(CRA), Version 32-                                                               
LS0756\G,   Bullard/Klein,  5/10/21]   out   of  committee   with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying fiscal  notes.                                                               
There being  no objection, [HCS  CSSJR 13(CRA)] was  reported out                                                               
of the House Community and Regional Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 95 v. I Sponsor Statement.pdf HCRA 5/13/2021 8:00:00 AM
SB 95
SB0095B.PDF HCRA 5/13/2021 8:00:00 AM
SB 95
SB0095A.PDF HCRA 5/13/2021 8:00:00 AM
SB 95
SB 95 Exp. of Changes B-I.pdf HCRA 5/13/2021 8:00:00 AM
SB 95
SB 95 v. I Sectional Summary.pdf HCRA 5/13/2021 8:00:00 AM
SB 95
SB0095-1-2-040321-ADM-N.PDF HCRA 5/13/2021 8:00:00 AM
SB 95
SB 95 Testimony Access to Surplus State Resources.pdf HCRA 5/13/2021 8:00:00 AM
SB 95
SB 95 Public Testimony.pdf HCRA 5/13/2021 8:00:00 AM
SB 95
SJR 13 Sponsor Statement 4.22.21.pdf HCRA 5/13/2021 8:00:00 AM
SJR 13
CSSJR 13 Version .I Explanation of Changes.pdf HCRA 5/13/2021 8:00:00 AM
SJR 13
2021.5.10 SJR 13 ver .G.pdf HCRA 5/13/2021 8:00:00 AM
SJR 13
CSSJR 13 ver. G Summary of Changes.pdf HCRA 5/13/2021 8:00:00 AM
SJR 13
CSSJR 13 v. I Legislation.PDF HCRA 5/13/2021 8:00:00 AM
SJR 13
SJR 13 v. B Legislation.PDF HCRA 5/13/2021 8:00:00 AM
SJR 13
SJR 13 Zero Fiscal Note.pdf HCRA 5/13/2021 8:00:00 AM
SJR 13
SJR 13 Supporting Document- A Blueprint for Alaskas Broadband Future 12.11.19.pdf HCRA 5/13/2021 8:00:00 AM
SJR 13
SJR 13 Supporting Document- AO 310 Broadband Infrastructure 5.29.19.pdf HCRA 5/13/2021 8:00:00 AM
SJR 13
SJR 13 Support Letter- ATA.pdf HCRA 5/13/2021 8:00:00 AM
SJR 13
SJR 13 Support Letter- Alaska Communications.pdf HCRA 5/13/2021 8:00:00 AM
SJR 13
SJR 13 Support Document- Digital Diversity Broadband and Indigenous Populations in Alaska.pdf HCRA 5/13/2021 8:00:00 AM
SJR 13
SJR 13 Letter of Support-MTA.pdf HCRA 5/13/2021 8:00:00 AM
SJR 13
ATA State of Broadband for H CRA.pdf HCRA 5/13/2021 8:00:00 AM
SJR13 ATA Presentation