Florida Senate - 2022 SB 1726 By Senator Ausley 3-01071A-22 20221726__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to broadband; amending s. 288.9961, 3 F.S.; establishing the Broadband Deployment Task Force 4 within the Department of Economic Opportunity for a 5 specified purpose; requiring the department to provide 6 administrative and technical assistance to the task 7 force; providing for the membership and duties of the 8 task force; requiring the task force to submit annual 9 reports to the Governor and the Legislature by a 10 specified date; providing that certain information 11 provided to the department from broadband service 12 providers retains its confidentiality and exemption 13 from public disclosure requirements; amending s. 14 288.9962, F.S.; providing applicability; revising 15 grant application written challenge requirements; 16 establishing positions with the Office of Broadband 17 for a specified purpose; providing an effective date. 18 19 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 20 21 Section 1. Present subsection (5) of section 288.9961, 22 Florida Statutes, is redesignated as subsection (7), and a new 23 subsection (5) and subsection (6) are added to that section, to 24 read: 25 288.9961 Promotion of broadband adoption; Florida Office of 26 Broadband.— 27 (5) BROADBAND DEPLOYMENT TASK FORCE.—The Broadband 28 Deployment Task Force, a task force as defined in s. 20.03(8), 29 is established within the department to support and provide 30 recommendations to the office for the deployment of broadband 31 Internet service throughout this state, including, but not 32 limited to, rural buildout and urban adoption strategies. The 33 department shall provide administrative and technical assistance 34 to the task force in the performance of its duties. The task 35 force shall operate in a manner consistent with s. 20.052. 36 (a) The task force shall be composed of the following 37 members, who must be appointed by September 1, 2022, and who 38 must have an interest and significant expertise in broadband 39 Internet services: 40 1. One member from each of the following state agencies, 41 who shall be appointed by his or her agency head: the Department 42 of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Department of 43 Management Services, the Department of Transportation, the 44 Department of Education, the Department of Health, and the 45 Office of Technology and Information Services. 46 2. One member from the Florida Association of Counties as a 47 representative of underserved or unserved rural communities, who 48 is recommended by the association and appointed by the executive 49 director. 50 3. One member from the Florida League of Cities as a 51 representative of underserved or unserved rural communities, who 52 is recommended by the league and appointed by the executive 53 director. 54 4. Two members of the public who are appointed by the 55 Governor, including one member who resides in an underserved 56 area of this state and one member who resides in an unserved 57 area of this state. 58 5. One member from each of the following segments of the 59 broadband industry, who shall be appointed by the Governor: a 60 wireless provider, a wireline provider, a broadband satellite 61 provider, a cable provider, a rural local exchange carrier, and 62 a competitive local exchange carrier. 63 (b) Any vacancy on the task force must be filled in the 64 same manner as the original appointment. 65 (c) The task force shall do all of the following: 66 1. Identify any available federal funding sources for the 67 expansion or improvement of broadband Internet services in this 68 state. 69 2. Identify any gaps in broadband Internet service coverage 70 for any area of this state. 71 3. Develop strategies to expand broadband Internet service 72 to any area of this state designated as a rural area of 73 opportunity, including, but not limited to, methods of building 74 partnerships with local governments, other state and federal 75 entities, electric utilities, the business community, and the 76 public to support broadband Internet service in such areas. 77 4. Develop an urban adoption strategy to address areas of 78 this state which have broadband Internet service, but where such 79 service is not affordable. 80 5. Identify specific projects that will accomplish the 81 deployment of broadband Internet service throughout this state, 82 including grants provided through the Rural Infrastructure Fund 83 pursuant to s. 288.0655(2)(b). 84 6. Coordinate with the Cabinet, state agencies, and other 85 governmental entities with oversight in broadband Internet 86 activities or potential funding opportunities. 87 7. Recommend outreach strategies and partnerships for 88 maximum use of the federal Emergency Broadband Benefit Program 89 within the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, Pub. L. No. 90 116-260 and regulations adopted thereunder. 91 (d) The task force shall submit a report of its findings 92 and recommendations to the Governor, the President of the 93 Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by 94 December 30, 2023, and annually thereafter. 95 (6) CONFIDENTIALITY.—Any information that is confidential 96 or exempt from public disclosure under chapter 119 when in the 97 possession of the department retains its status as confidential 98 or exempt from disclosure under chapter 119 when provided by a 99 broadband service provider under this section. 100 Section 2. Subsection (4) and paragraph (c) of subsection 101 (6) of section 288.9962, Florida Statutes, are amended, and 102 paragraph (e) is added to subsection (8) of that section, to 103 read: 104 288.9962 Broadband Opportunity Program.— 105 (4) The office may not award, directly or indirectly, 106 grants under this section to a governmental entity or an 107 educational institution or affiliate to provide broadband 108 Internet service to any residential or commercial premises, 109 unless other broadband Internet service providers have not 110 deployed service to an unserved area. This subsection applies 111 only to grants awarded using state funds. A grant awarded using 112 federal funds must meet the applicable federal terms, 113 guidelines, and criteria for the use of such funds. 114 (6) 115 (c) A broadband Internet service provider that provides 116 existing service in or adjacent to a proposed project area may 117 submit to the office, within 45 days after publication of the 118 information under paragraph (b), a written challenge to an 119 application.
The challenge shall contain information120 demonstrating that:121 1. The provider currently has deployed broadband Internet122 service to retail customers within the project area;123 2. The provider has begun construction to provide broadband124 Internet service to retail customers within the proposed project125 area within the timeframe proposed by the applicant; or126 3. The provider commits to providing broadband Internet127 service to retail customers within the proposed project area128 within the timeframe proposed by the applicant.129 (8) 130 (e) This subsection applies only to grants awarded using 131 state funds. A grant awarded using federal funds must meet the 132 applicable federal terms, guidelines, and criteria for the use 133 of such funds. 134 Section 3. Seven full-time equivalent positions are 135 established within the Office of Broadband within the Department 136 of Economic Opportunity to support the office, implement a 137 broadband availability and access strategic plan, implement 138 federal broadband grant programs, maintain updated geographic 139 information system maps of broadband Internet service 140 availability throughout this state, and provide administrative 141 support for the Broadband Deployment Task Force pursuant to s. 142 288.9961, Florida Statutes. 143 Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2022.