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.
   19  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   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 information
  120  demonstrating that:
  121         1. The provider currently has deployed broadband Internet
  122  service to retail customers within the project area;
  123         2. The provider has begun construction to provide broadband
  124  Internet service to retail customers within the proposed project
  125  area within the timeframe proposed by the applicant; or
  126         3. The provider commits to providing broadband Internet
  127  service to retail customers within the proposed project area
  128  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.