AB 14

  • California Assembly Bill
  • 2021-2022 Regular Session
  • Introduced in Assembly
  • Assembly
  • Senate
  • Governor

Communications: broadband services: California Advanced Services Fund.

Abstract

(1) Existing law establishes the State Department of Education in state government, and vests the department with specified powers and duties relating to the state's public school system. This bill would authorize local educational agencies to report to the department their pupils' estimated needs for computing devices and internet connectivity adequate for at-home learning. The bill would require the department, in consultation with the Public Utilities Commission, to compile that information and to annually post that compiled information on the department's internet website. (2) Existing law expressly authorizes a county service area to acquire, construct, improve, maintain, and operate broadband internet access services, and requires a county service area that does so to take certain actions regarding the accessing of content on the internet by end users of that service. This bill would similarly authorize the board of supervisors of a county to acquire, construct, improve, maintain, or operate broadband internet access service, and any other communications service necessary to obtain federal or state support for the acquisition, construction, improvement, maintenance, or operation of broadband internet access service, and would require a board that does so to take certain actions regarding the accessing of content on the internet by end users of that service. (3) Existing law establishes the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development, known as "GO-Biz," within the Governor's office to serve the Governor as the lead entity for economic strategy and the marketing of California on issues relating to business development, private sector investment, and economic growth. This bill would require the office, on or before June 30, 2022, to develop recommendations and a model for streamlined local land use approval and construction permit processes for projects related to broadband infrastructure deployment and connectivity and to adopt, and post on its internet website, the recommendations and model, as specified. (4) Under existing law, the Public Utilities Commission has regulatory authority over public utilities, including telephone corporations. Existing law requires the commission to develop, implement, and administer the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) program to encourage deployment of high-quality advanced communications services to all Californians that will promote economic growth, job creation, and the substantial social benefits of advanced information and communications technologies. Existing law requires the commission, in approving CASF infrastructure projects, to give preference to projects in areas where only dial-up internet service is available or where no internet service is available. Existing law authorizes the commission to impose a surcharge to collect $330,000,000 for deposit into the CASF beginning January 1, 2018, and continuing through the 2022 calendar year. Existing law establishes 4 accounts, the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account, the Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortia Grant Account, the Broadband Public Housing Account, and the Broadband Adoption Account within the CASF and specifies the amount of moneys to be deposited into each account, subject to appropriation by the Legislature. Existing law specifies, among other things, eligibility criteria for grants awarded from each of those accounts. This bill would require the commission, in approving CASF infrastructure projects that provide last-mile broadband access to unserved and unserved households, to instead prioritize projects in unserved areas, as defined, where internet connectivity is available only at speeds at or below 6 megabits per second (mbps) downstream and one mbps upstream or areas with no internet connectivity, with a goal of achieving at least 100 mbps downstream, and to further prioritize projects based on other specified attributes. Upon the achievement of the goal of providing broadband access to 98% of California households in each consortia region, the bill would require the commission to prioritize only middle-mile infrastructure, as provided. The bill would authorize moneys appropriated for purposes of CASF program to be used to match or leverage federal moneys for internet infrastructure and adoption, as specified. The bill would require the commission to maximize investments in new, robust, and scalable infrastructure and use CASF moneys to leverage federal and non-CASF moneys by undertaking specified activities. The bill would delete the commission's authorization to collect $330,000,000 for deposit into the CASF beginning January 1, 2018, and continuing through the 2022 calendar year, delete the requirement that specified amounts of the surcharge revenues be deposited into those accounts, and instead authorize the commission to collect the surcharge in an amount not to exceed an unspecified percentage of an end user's intrastate telecommunications service costs to fund the accounts within the CASF. The bill would revise, among other things, the eligibility criteria for grants awarded from the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account, as specified. The bill would authorize the additional uses of moneys in the Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortia Grant Account to, among other uses, promote adoption of free, low-cost, income-qualified, or affordable home internet service offers. This bill would require that the CASF program promote remote learning and telehealth, in addition to economic growth, job creation, and the substantial social benefits of advanced information and communications technologies. The bill would repeal the requirement that moneys in the Broadband Public Housing Account not awarded by December 31, 2020, be transferred back to the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account and would require that moneys in that account be available for grants and loans for network deployment in eligible publicly support communities, as specified. The bill would authorize the commission to require a performance metric plan to improve the administration of grants awarded from the Broadband Adoption Account. Existing law requires the commission to annually offer an existing facility-based broadband provider the opportunity to demonstrate that it will deploy broadband or upgrade existing facilities to a delineated unserved area within 180 days. Existing law prohibits the commission from approving funding for a project to deploy broadband to a delineated unserved area if the existing facility-based broadband provider demonstrates to the commission, in response to the commission's annual offer, that it will deploy broadband or upgrade existing broadband service throughout the project area. This bill would repeal that requirement and prohibition. This bill would authorize the commission, upon determining, in consultation with the State Treasurer, that doing so would be lawful, to issue bonds secured by CASF surcharge revenues in an aggregate amount up to $1,000,000,000 for broadband deployment and adoption, and provide that such bonds do not constitute a debt or liability of the state or of any political subdivision thereof, other than the commission. The bill would establish the Broadband Bond Financing and Securitization Account within the CASF and, if the commission issues bonds, would deposit the moneys received by the commission from the CASF surcharge into the account for purposes of funding costs related to broadband bond financing and securities. The bill would require each local government agency or nonprofit organization allocated moneys from this account to file specified reports with the commission. Existing law requires the commission to conduct interim and final financial and performance audits of the implementation and effectiveness of the CASF for specified purposes and to report the interim findings to the Legislature by April 1, 2020, and to report the final findings by April 1, 2023. Existing law repeals this requirement on January 1, 2027. This bill would instead require the commission, on or before April 1, 2023, and annually thereafter, to conduct a financial audit and a performance audit of the implementation and effectiveness of the CASF for those purposes and to report those findings to the Legislature. The bill would require the commission to submit that report in perpetuity. Existing law requires the commission, until April 1, 2023, to annually provide a report to the Legislature that includes certain information, including the remaining unserved areas in the state, the status of the California Advanced Services Fund balance, and the projected amount to be collected in each year. This bill would require the commission to submit that report in perpetuity. This bill would authorize the commission to require each internet service provider, as defined, to report specified information regarding each free, low-cost, income-qualified, or affordable internet service plan advertised by the provider. (5) Existing law requires the commission to require interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol service providers to collect and remit surcharges on their California intrastate revenues in support of the public purpose program funds. Existing law authorizes those providers to use certain methodologies to identify their intrastate revenues subject to the surcharge. This bill would repeal that authorization to use those methodologies. (6) Under existing law, a violation of the Public Utilities Act or any order, decision, rule, direction, demand, or requirement of the commission is a crime. Because a violation of a commission action implementing this bill's requirements would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement. This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason. (7) This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.

Bill Sponsors (26)

Stone

     
Author

Gonzalez

     
Principal Coauthor

Blanca Rubio

     
Coauthor

Votes


No votes to display

Actions


Jan 11, 2021

Assembly

Referred to Coms. on C. & C. and L. GOV.

  • Referral-Committee
Coms. on C. & C. and L. GOV.

Dec 08, 2020

Assembly

From printer. May be heard in committee January 7.

Dec 07, 2020

Assembly

Read first time. To print.

Bill Text

Bill Text Versions Format
AB14 HTML
12/07/20 - Introduced PDF

Related Documents

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