Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

03/05/2018 03:15 PM LABOR & COMMERCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
Moved HB 277 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
         HB 277-BROADBAND INTERNET: NEUTRALITY/REGULATION                                                                   
3:59:25 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KITO  announced that  the next order  of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO. 277,  "An  Act  relating  to the  regulation  of                                                               
broadband  Internet;  and  making certain  actions  by  broadband                                                               
Internet service  providers unlawful acts or  practices under the                                                               
Alaska Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act."                                                                     
3:59:24 PM                                                                                                                    
JACOB    GERRISH,   Staff,    Representative   Scott    Kawasaki,                                                               
reintroduced HB  277 on behalf of  Representative Kawasaki, prime                                                               
sponsor.    He  said  HB   277  would  require  internet  service                                                               
providers (ISPs)  to engage in  net neutrality practices  for all                                                               
4:00:29 PM                                                                                                                    
TOM  BRADY,  Engineering  Manager,  Microcom,  Testified  in  the                                                               
hearing on  HB 277.   He  explained that  net neutrality  is only                                                               
possible when bandwidth is unlimited.   When an ISP has unlimited                                                               
bandwidth,  it  has no  reason  to  prioritize one  service  over                                                               
another.  He  stated bandwidth is limited,  particularly in rural                                                               
Alaska.  He said  the  market allocates  the  scarce resource  of                                                               
bandwidth.  He  added that technically, not  all internet packets                                                               
are  equal.  He   said  he  wondered  whether   there  have  been                                                               
complaints about packages being  treated unfairly before or after                                                               
2015 when  net neutrality was  created.   He asked, "What  is the                                                               
extent of the problem we are  trying to solve?"  He suggested the                                                               
general  lack of  bandwidth  in Alaska  forces  an allocation  of                                                               
resources.   He said  doing away  with a  market-based allocation                                                               
and replacing it with  a government-adjudication allocation would                                                               
reintroduce  a period  of chaos  until the  government determines                                                               
who gets  to have  what and  would slow  down deployment  of more                                                               
bandwidth in the rural market since quality of service would be                                                                 
differentiated based on the government's perception of need.                                                                    
4:04:01 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked what changed in 2015.                                                                                 
MR.  BRADY  answered  that in  2015  the  Federal  Communications                                                               
Commission (FCC)  imposed net neutrality  and it was  reversed in                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  asked whether  the system was  neutral prior                                                               
to 2015.                                                                                                                        
MR. BRADY explained  that prior to 2015 there  was no requirement                                                               
for neutrality.                                                                                                                 
CHAIR KITO shared  his understanding that before  2015, there was                                                               
no  regulation  but  there  was   concern  that  there  could  be                                                               
differential pricing schemes put into  place.  In 2015, there was                                                               
an  administrative order  that  restricted  that opportunity  and                                                               
that order  was repealed  in 2017.   He said  there were  not any                                                               
changes or restrictions seen in how things had been operating.                                                                  
MR.  BRADY  restated  his query  whether  anything  had  happened                                                               
before or since 2015, or since 2017, that posed a problem.                                                                      
CHAIR  KITO said  that he  thought it  was a  concern that  there                                                               
might be inequitable activity in the area of internet service.                                                                  
MR.  BRADY  answered  that  since  Alaska  has  services  from  a                                                               
national  provider,   if  Alaska  ends  up   being  substantially                                                               
different, there is  a risk of the national  provider exiting the                                                               
4:08:52 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH  shared his understanding that  the issue is                                                               
largely a federal  issue, not a local or a  state issue. He asked                                                               
whether Mr. Brady felt it is a federal issue.                                                                                   
MR. BRADY answered in the affirmative.   He clarified that in the                                                               
case  of AT&T,  the  company  would have  to  manage its  service                                                               
differently in  Alaska and  Kansas and  this could  prove onerous                                                               
and could be overturned at a federal level.                                                                                     
4:10:12 PM                                                                                                                    
GEORGE PIERCE testified in support of  HB 277.  He said the state                                                               
depends on  the freedom of  the internet.   He suggested  that to                                                               
limit access to  information puts free speech on the  line and is                                                               
more important than  pricing issue. He said 60  percent of people                                                               
in the  state live  in rural Alaska  and restricted  broadband is                                                               
crucial to rural Alaska's lifeline.                                                                                             
4:12:50 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH  asked  Mr.   Pierce  whether  he  has  any                                                               
personal experience with problems with the internet.                                                                            
MR. PIERCE answered, "They slowed it down."                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH asked for confirmation  that he had personal                                                               
experience with internet speeds slowing.                                                                                        
MR. PIERCE answered in the affirmative.                                                                                         
4:14:36 PM                                                                                                                    
JODE SPARKS testified in  support of HB 277.  He  said as a youth                                                               
he goes online to study,  relax, shop, interact with friends, and                                                               
interact with  different viewpoints  around the  world.   He gave                                                               
the  example of  teleconferences with  other students  around the                                                               
world. He  said telecommunications is  important to  teaching and                                                               
learning  in  Alaska. He  said  when  the current  administration                                                               
proposed  changes  to  net neutrality,  polls  cited  83  percent                                                               
approval [of net neutrality].   He mentioned the executive action                                                               
of the  governor of  Washington state against  the repeal  of net                                                               
4:17:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KNOPP  asked  whether  there  were  other  states                                                               
besides  Washington and  Montana which  had taken  action against                                                               
the repeal of net neutrality.                                                                                                   
MR. SPARKS  answered that he  did not  know, but that  the repeal                                                               
had only occurred in December [2017].                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH  asked whether Mr. Sparks  had witnessed any                                                               
intentional slowing down of bandwidth.                                                                                          
MR. SPARKS explained  that industry hasn't taken  action yet, but                                                               
that  he felt  he  could not  have faith  in  the industry  self-                                                               
4:20:31 PM                                                                                                                    
KYRSTYN  KELLY testified  in support  of HB  277.   She explained                                                               
that many  communities do  not have  broad access  to ISPs.   She                                                               
stated  it  was a  huge  concern  as  those communities  rely  on                                                               
internet  service for  education.   She  shared  her belief  that                                                               
industry would not self-regulate.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH   said  he  thinks  there   is  competition                                                               
available  and that  a customer  can choose  another provider  if                                                               
they feel  the service they  receive is  not adequate.   He asked                                                               
whether  Ms.   Kelly  had  personal  experience   with  broadband                                                               
MS. KELLY answered that she had not,  but that it is too early to                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL   reiterated  his  question   regarding  net                                                               
neutrality and whether it has  changed since the inception of the                                                               
MR.  GERRISH  answered the  executive  order  has not  gone  into                                                               
effect and that he thought the date would be April 23rd [2018].                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL  asked  whether   the  proposed  bill  is  a                                                               
symbolic gesture, or  whether it was intended to  ensure that the                                                               
internet  service in  the state  is  not throttled  further at  a                                                               
state level.                                                                                                                    
MR. GERRISH answered that he did  not want to speak to the intent                                                               
of the bill, but that he thought it may have both effects.                                                                      
4:26:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH  shared  his  understanding  that  the  FTC                                                               
managed the  internet from 1996  to 2015, when the  authority was                                                               
moved to  the FCC and  it just went  back to  the FTC.   He asked                                                               
whether it was Mr. Gerrish's understanding as well.                                                                             
MR. GERRISH answered  it is not his understanding.   He explained                                                               
that 1996  was when the Title  1 and Title 2  service distinction                                                               
was  made.   He  added  net neutrality  has  been the  regulation                                                               
standard since 1996.  He said there have been  cases of companies                                                               
caught slowing services.  He  gave the example of ComCast slowing                                                               
a site  called BitTorrent.  He  said the FCC had  issued an order                                                               
to stop the throttling at the time.                                                                                             
4:28:55 PM                                                                                                                    
JEANIE PIERCE  testified in support of  HB 277.  She  stated that                                                               
Netflix had  been slowed down.   She stated the repeal  would not                                                               
be implemented until April 30 [2018],  so no change would be seen                                                               
4:30:29 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KITO  closed public testimony  on HB 277  upon ascertaining                                                               
that there was no one else who wished to testify.                                                                               
4:30:33 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KITO commented that he  felt the legislation was attempting                                                               
to address  something that  has not  happened yet.   He  added he                                                               
thinks  there  is  a  need  to ensure  equitable  access  to  the                                                               
internet.  He said he was not  sure that the bill was the correct                                                               
vehicle by which to address the issue.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON  said that  something happened  with net                                                               
neutrality in  2017. He said he  would support the bill  but that                                                               
he felt it would act more as a resolution than a bill.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  commented that sending a  signal to Congress                                                               
was worth doing and he would support the bill.                                                                                  
4:34:23 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH stated his objection  to moving the bill due                                                               
to the risk  that companies could move away.   He said he thought                                                               
it was  good to have a  choice.  He  said it should be  a federal                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  SULLIVAN-LEONARD  said  she shared  the  concerns                                                               
stated by Representative  Birch.  She added that she  saw a "fear                                                               
factor" in the proposed bill and she would not be supporting it.                                                                
4:37:24 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KNOPP  said  that  he likes  the  net  neutrality                                                               
concept.  He said he preferred  to wait until there is a problem.                                                               
He said he though industry should  have the right to market their                                                               
product as faster service.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL  said  he  does  not  pay  for  the  fastest                                                               
internet service and he does not  have access to more ISPs in his                                                               
area.  He said he supports the net neutrality concept.                                                                          
4:39:52 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL moved to report  HB 277 out of committee with                                                               
individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                   
A roll  call vote  was taken.   Representatives  Josephson, Wool,                                                               
Stutes,  and Kito  voted in  favor  of HB  277.   Representatives                                                               
Sullivan-Leonard, Knopp, and Birch voted  against it.  Therefore,                                                               
HB 277 was reported out of  the House Labor and Commerce Standing                                                               
Committee by a vote of 4-3.                                                                                                     

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB353 Letters of Support 2.21.18.pdf HL&C 3/5/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 353
HB353 Supporting Document - Arctic Mental Health Working Group - Alaska's Mental Health Needs.pdf HL&C 3/5/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 353
HB353 Sectional Analysis 2.21.18.pdf HL&C 3/5/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 353
HB353 Sponsor Statement 2.21.18.pdf HL&C 3/5/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 353
HB353 version A 2.21.18.pdf HL&C 3/5/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 353
HB353 Fiscal Note DCCED CBPL 3.2.18.pdf HL&C 3/5/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 353
HB353 Fiscal Note DHSS BHMS 3.2.18.pdf HL&C 3/5/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 353
HB353 HLAC PowerPoint 3.3.18.pdf HL&C 3/5/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 353
HB277 Opposition Documents 2.13.18.pdf HL&C 3/5/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 277
HB277 Supporting Document-Fast Facts for Conservatives on Net Neutrality 2.12.18.pdf HL&C 3/5/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 277
HB277 Letters of Support 2.28.18.pdf HL&C 3/5/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 277
HB309 CS Presentation.pdf HL&C 3/5/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 309
HB309 CS Support Letter SK to HLAC.pdf HL&C 3/5/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 309
HB309 CS Exhibit D1 Ver J.PDF HL&C 3/5/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 309
HB309 Sponsor Statement 2.2.18.pdf HL&C 3/5/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 309
HB309 Supporting Document- Bruce Botehlo Letter to SOCC 2.2.18.pdf HL&C 3/5/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 309
HB309 Ver A 2.2.18.pdf HL&C 3/5/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 309
HB309 CS A Exhibits.pdf HL&C 3/5/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 309
HB309 CS B Exhibits.pdf HL&C 3/5/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 309
HB309 CS C Exhibits.pdf HL&C 3/5/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 309
HB309 Fiscal Note LEG 3.5.18.pdf HL&C 3/5/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 309
HB277 Opposition Letters 3.5.18.pdf HL&C 3/5/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 277
HB309 Legal Memo 3.16.18.pdf HL&C 3/5/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 309