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.