Florida Senate - 2021                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. CS for SB 1560
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              
                  Comm: RCS            .                                
                  04/12/2021           .                                

       Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and
       Economic Development (Ausley) recommended the following:
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete lines 106 - 445
    4  and insert:
    5  state. The plan must include a process to review and verify
    6  public input regarding transmission speeds and availability of
    7  broadband Internet service throughout the state.
    8         (b) Build and facilitate local technology planning teams or
    9  partnerships with members representing cross-sections of the
   10  community, which may include, but are not limited to,
   11  representatives from the following organizations and industries:
   12  libraries, K-12 education, colleges and universities, local
   13  health care providers, private businesses, community
   14  organizations, economic development organizations, local
   15  governments, tourism, parks and recreation, and agriculture. The
   16  local technology planning teams or partnerships shall work with
   17  rural communities to help the communities understand their
   18  current broadband availability, locate unserved and underserved
   19  businesses and residents, identify assets relevant to broadband
   20  deployment, build partnerships with broadband service providers,
   21  and identify opportunities to leverage assets and reduce
   22  barriers to the deployment of broadband Internet services in the
   23  community. The teams or partnerships must be proactive in
   24  fiscally constrained counties in identifying and providing
   25  assistance with applying for federal grants for broadband
   26  Internet service.
   27         (c) Encourage the use of broadband Internet service,
   28  especially in the rural, unserved, or underserved communities of
   29  this the state through grant programs having effective
   30  strategies to facilitate the statewide deployment of broadband
   31  Internet service. For any grants to be awarded, priority must be
   32  given to projects that:
   33         1. Provide access to broadband education, awareness,
   34  training, access, equipment, and support to libraries, schools,
   35  colleges and universities, health care providers, and community
   36  support organizations.
   37         2. Encourage the sustainable adoption of broadband in
   38  primarily underserved areas by removing barriers to entry.
   39         3. Work toward encouraging investments in establishing
   40  affordable and sustainable broadband Internet service in
   41  underserved areas of this the state.
   42         4. Facilitate the development of applications, programs,
   43  and services, including, but not limited to, telework,
   44  telemedicine, and e-learning to increase the usage of, and
   45  demand for, broadband Internet service in this the state.
   46         (d) Monitor, participate in, and provide input in
   47  proceedings of the Federal Communications Commission and other
   48  federal agencies related to the geographic availability and
   49  deployment of broadband Internet service in this the state as
   50  necessary to ensure that this information is accurately
   51  presented and that rural, unserved, and underserved areas of
   52  this the state are best positioned to benefit from federal and
   53  state broadband deployment programs.
   54         (e)By June 30, 2022, develop geographic information system
   55  maps of broadband Internet service availability throughout this
   56  state. The office shall collaborate with broadband service
   57  providers, state agencies, local governmental entities, private
   58  businesses, educational institutions, and community
   59  organizations and leaders to develop such maps.
   60         1.The maps must do all of the following:
   61         a.Be consistent with the Digital Opportunity Data
   62  Collection program reporting standards established by the
   63  Federal Communications Commission.
   64         b.Identify where broadband-capable networks exist and
   65  broadband Internet service is available to end users.
   66         c.Identify download and upload transmission speeds made
   67  available to businesses and individuals in this state.
   68         d.Identify gaps in broadband Internet service coverage,
   69  specifying underserved and unserved areas within those areas of
   70  this state designated as a rural area of opportunity under s.
   71  288.0656(2).
   72         e.Include any other mapping information already compiled
   73  by other state agencies.
   74         f.Be updated annually.
   75         2.Any mapping data received from another governmental
   76  entity or a contractor must be verified. Such data must be
   77  verified against the source of the data and whether such entity
   78  is able to demonstrate that it has employed a sound and reliable
   79  methodology in the collection, organization, and verification of
   80  the data it has submitted to the office. If a governmental
   81  entity enters into a valid contract with a contractor to collect
   82  broadband availability data, the entity must describe the third
   83  party providing the data as well as the methodology used to
   84  collect, organize, and verify the availability data provided.
   85         3.The office must establish a mechanism to receive and
   86  verify public input which identifies locations in which
   87  broadband Internet service is not available, including locations
   88  in which broadband Internet service is provided at data
   89  transmission speeds below the standard established by the
   90  Federal Communications Commission for broadband Internet
   91  service. Upon verification, the office shall adjust its
   92  geographic information system maps to reflect information
   93  received from the public. In developing and implementing this
   94  mechanism, the office may work in collaboration with, and
   95  receive staffing support and other resources from, Enterprise
   96  Florida, Inc., state agencies, local governments, private
   97  businesses, and community organizations.
   98         (f)By June 30, 2022, develop a broadband infrastructure
   99  asset map that includes, but is not limited to:
  100         1.State and federal assets, including, but not limited to,
  101  municipally or city-owned towers that may be used by providers;
  102  rights-of-way that may be made available for easier and less
  103  expensive access to burying or stringing fiber optic cable;
  104  public transportation corridors; capital projects that may be
  105  used as an opportunity to lay new fiber optic conduit for future
  106  activation; and federal E-rate funding commitments; and
  107         2.Community-owned land and infrastructure, including, but
  108  not limited to, land that may be leased and utility poles that
  109  may be used to expand broadband networks.
  110         (g)Administer the Broadband Opportunity Program
  111  established in s. 364.0136.
  112         (5)BROADBAND DEPLOYMENT TASK FORCE.—The Broadband
  113  Deployment Task Force, a task force as defined in s. 20.03(8),
  114  is established within the department to support and provide
  115  recommendations to the office for the deployment of broadband
  116  Internet service throughout this state, including, but not
  117  limited to, rural buildout and urban adoption strategies. The
  118  department shall provide administrative and technical assistance
  119  to the task force in the performance of its duties. The task
  120  force shall operate in a manner consistent with s. 20.052.
  121         (a)The task force shall be composed of the following
  122  members, who must be appointed by September 1, 2021, and who
  123  must have an interest and significant expertise in broadband
  124  Internet services:
  125         1.One member from each of the following state agencies,
  126  who shall be appointed by his or her agency head: the Department
  127  of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Department of
  128  Management Services, the Department of Transportation, the
  129  Department of Education, the Department of Health, and the
  130  Office of Technology and Information Services within the
  131  Department of Environmental Protection.
  132         2.One member from the Florida Association of Counties as a
  133  representative of underserved or unserved rural communities, who
  134  is recommended by the association and appointed by the executive
  135  director.
  136         3.One member from the Florida League of Cities as a
  137  representative of underserved or unserved rural communities, who
  138  is recommended by the league and appointed by the executive
  139  director.
  140         4.Two members of the public who are appointed by the
  141  Governor, including one member who resides in an underserved
  142  area of this state and one member who resides in an unserved
  143  area of this state.
  144         5.One member from each of the following segments of the
  145  broadband industry, who shall be appointed by the Governor: a
  146  wireless provider, a wireline provider, a broadband satellite
  147  provider, a cable provider, a rural local exchange carrier, and
  148  a competitive local exchange carrier.
  149         (b)Any vacancy on the task force must be filled in the
  150  same manner as the original appointment.
  151         (c)The task force shall identify:
  152         1.Any available federal funding sources for the expansion
  153  or improvement of broadband Internet services in this state.
  154         2.Any gaps in broadband Internet service coverage for any
  155  area of this state.
  156         3.Specific projects that will accomplish the deployment of
  157  broadband Internet service throughout this state.
  158         (d) The task force shall develop strategies and make
  159  recommendations to the office for inclusion in its strategic
  160  plan to:
  161         1.Expand broadband Internet service to any area of this
  162  state designated as a rural area of opportunity, including, but
  163  not limited to, methods of building partnerships with local
  164  governments, other state and federal entities, electric
  165  utilities, the business community, and the public to support
  166  broadband Internet service in such areas.
  167         2.Address areas of this state which have broadband
  168  Internet service, but where such service is not affordable, as
  169  part of an urban strategy.
  170         3.Enable outreach and establish partnerships to facilitate
  171  maximum use of the federal Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
  172  within the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, Pub. L. No.
  173  116-260 and regulations adopted thereunder.
  174         (e) The task force may coordinate with state agencies and
  175  other governmental entities with oversight in broadband Internet
  176  activities or potential funding opportunities.
  177         (f)The task force shall submit an annual report of its
  178  findings and recommendations by October 15 to the department for
  179  inclusion in its annual report required under s. 20.60. The
  180  office must also publish the report on its website.
  181         (g) This subsection expires on September 1, 2024.
  182         (6)CONFIDENTIALITY.—Any information that is confidential
  183  or exempt from public disclosure under chapter 119 when in the
  184  possession of the department retains its status as confidential
  185  or exempt from disclosure under chapter 119 when provided by a
  186  broadband service provider under this section.
  187         (7)(5) ADMINISTRATION.—The department may:
  188         (a) Apply for and accept federal funds for purposes of this
  189  section.
  190         (b) Enter into contracts necessary or useful to carry out
  191  the purposes of this section.
  192         (c) Establish any committee or workgroup to administer and
  193  carry out the purposes of this section.
  194         Section 2. Section 364.0136, Florida Statutes, is created
  195  to read:
  196         364.0136Broadband Opportunity Program.—
  197         (1)The Broadband Opportunity Program is established within
  198  the Florida Office of Broadband within the Department of
  199  Economic Opportunity to award grants to applicants who seek to
  200  expand broadband Internet service to unserved and underserved
  201  areas of this state. The office must administer and act as
  202  fiscal agent for the program and is responsible for receiving
  203  and reviewing applications and awarding grants. Funding for the
  204  program shall be subject to appropriation.
  205         (2)Grants awarded under this section shall fund the
  206  installation or deployment of infrastructure that supports the
  207  provision of broadband Internet service. State funds may not be
  208  used to install or deploy broadband Internet service to a
  209  geographic area in which broadband Internet service is already
  210  deployed by at least one provider.
  211         (3)Applicants eligible for grant awards include:
  212         (a)Corporations, limited liability companies, general
  213  partnerships, and limited partnerships that are organized under
  214  the laws of this state or otherwise authorized to transact
  215  business in this state.
  216         (b)Indian tribes.
  217         (4)The office may not award, directly or indirectly,
  218  grants under this section to a governmental entity, a rural
  219  electric cooperative or its broadband affiliate, or an
  220  educational institution or affiliate to provide broadband
  221  Internet service to any residential or commercial premises,
  222  unless other broadband Internet service providers have not
  223  deployed service to an unserved or underserved area.
  224         (5)An eligible applicant shall submit a grant application
  225  to the office on a form prescribed by the office. A grant
  226  application must include all of the following information:
  227         (a)A description of the project area.
  228         (b)A description of the kind and amount of broadband
  229  Internet service infrastructure which is proposed.
  230         (c)Evidence demonstrating the unserved or underserved
  231  nature of the project area.
  232         (d)The number of households and businesses which would
  233  have access to broadband Internet service as a result of the
  234  grant.
  235         (e)A list of significant community institutions that would
  236  benefit from the grant.
  237         (f)The total cost of the project and the timeframe in
  238  which it would be completed.
  239         (g)A list identifying sources of funding or in-kind
  240  contributions that would supplement any awarded grant.
  241         (h)Any other information required by the office.
  242         (6)(a)At least 30 days before the first day grant
  243  applications may be submitted each fiscal year, the office shall
  244  publish on its website the specific criteria and quantitative
  245  scoring system it will use to evaluate or rank grant
  246  applications. Such criteria and quantitative scoring system must
  247  include the criteria set forth in subsection (7).
  248         (b)Within 3 business days after the close of the grant
  249  application process, the office shall publish on its website,
  250  from each grant application submitted, the proposed unserved or
  251  underserved areas to be served and the proposed broadband
  252  Internet speeds of the areas to be served.
  253         (c)A broadband Internet service provider that provides
  254  existing service in or adjacent to a proposed project area may
  255  submit to the office, within 45 days after publication of the
  256  information under paragraph (b), a written challenge to an
  257  application. The challenge must contain information
  258  demonstrating that:
  259         1.The provider currently has deployed broadband Internet
  260  service to retail customers within the project area;
  261         2.The provider has begun construction to provide broadband
  262  Internet service to retail customers within the proposed project
  263  area within the timeframe proposed by the applicant; or
  264         3.The provider commits to providing broadband Internet
  265  service to retail customers within the proposed project area
  266  within the timeframe proposed by the applicant.
  267         (d)Within 3 business days after the submission of a
  268  written challenge, the office shall notify the applicant, in
  269  writing, of the challenge.
  270         (e)The office shall evaluate each challenge submitted
  271  under this subsection. If the office determines that the
  272  provider currently has deployed, has begun construction to
  273  provide, or commits to provide broadband Internet service in the
  274  proposed project area, the office may not fund the challenged
  275  project.
  276         (f)If the office denies funding to an applicant as a
  277  result of a broadband Internet service provider’s challenge, and
  278  the provider does not fulfill its commitment to provide
  279  broadband Internet service in the unserved or underserved area,
  280  the office may not consider another challenge from the provider
  281  for the next two grant application cycles, unless the office
  282  determines that the failure to fulfill the commitment was due to
  283  circumstances beyond the provider’s control.
  284         (7)(a)Notwithstanding s. 364.0135(4)(c), in evaluating
  285  grant applications and awarding grants, the office must give
  286  priority to applications that:
  287         1.Offer broadband Internet service to important community
  288  institutions, including, but not limited to, libraries,
  289  educational institutions, public safety facilities, and health
  290  care facilities;
  291         2.Facilitate the use of telemedicine and electronic health
  292  records;
  293         3.Serve economically distressed areas of this state, as
  294  measured by indices of unemployment, poverty, or population loss
  295  which are significantly greater than the statewide average;
  296         4.Provide for scalability to transmission speeds of at
  297  least 100 megabits per second download and 10 megabits per
  298  second upload;
  299         5.Include a component to actively promote the adoption of
  300  the newly available broadband Internet service in the community;
  301         6.Provide evidence of strong support for the project from
  302  residents, government, businesses, and institutions in the
  303  community;
  304         7.Provide access to broadband Internet service to the
  305  greatest number of unserved and underserved households and
  306  businesses;
  307         8.Leverage greater amounts of funding for a project from
  308  private or federal sources; or
  309         9.Demonstrate consistency with the strategic plan adopted
  310  under s. 364.0135.
  311         (b)The office must endeavor to award grants to qualified
  312  applications serving all regions of this state.
  313         (8)(a)A grant awarded under this section may not be used
  314  to serve any retail end user that already has access to
  315  broadband Internet service.
  316         (b)A grant awarded under this section, when combined with
  317  any state, local, or federal funds, may not fund more than 50
  318  percent of the total cost of a project.
  319         (c)A single project may not be awarded a grant in excess
  320  of $5 million.
  321         (9)For each grant awarded, the office shall enter into an
  322  agreement with the applicant. The agreement must specify the
  323  total amount of the grant, performance conditions that must be
  324  met to obtain the grant, the schedule of payment, and sanctions
  325  that would apply for failure to meet performance conditions,
  326  including, but not limited to, requiring the return of grant
  327  funds.
  328         (10)By October 15, 2022, and each year thereafter, the
  329  office shall publish on its website and include in the
  330  department's annual report required under s. 20.60 all of the
  331  following information:
  332         (a)A list of all grant applications received during the
  333  previous fiscal year and for each application:
  334         1.The results of any quantitative weighting or scoring
  335  system the office used to award grants or rank the applications.
  336         2.The grant amounts requested.
  337         3.The grant amounts awarded, if any.
  338         4.A report on the progress of each grant recipient in
  339  acquiring and installing infrastructure that supports the
  340  provision of broadband Internet service in the project areas for
  341  which that grant was awarded and in securing adoption of such
  342  service in each project area.
  343         (b)All written challenges filed during the previous fiscal
  344  year
  346  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  347  And the title is amended as follows:
  348         Delete lines 27 - 48
  349  and insert:
  350         to the department by a specified date for inclusion in
  351         its annual report; providing for expiration of the
  352         task force; providing that certain information
  353         provided to the department from broadband service
  354         providers retains its exemption from public
  355         disclosure; creating s. 364.0136, F.S.; creating the
  356         Broadband Opportunity Program within the office;
  357         providing for administration of the program; providing
  358         requirements for grant awards; providing eligibility
  359         requirements; providing application requirements;
  360         requiring the office to publish certain information
  361         related to grant applications and grant awards on its
  362         website; authorizing grant applications to be
  363         challenged under certain circumstances; specifying
  364         contents of a challenge; providing procedures to be
  365         used by the office in evaluating challenges; providing
  366         direction for prioritizing grant funding; specifying
  367         conditions for the award of grants; requiring the
  368         office to enter into an agreement containing specified
  369         information with each grant recipient; requiring the
  370         office to publish specified information annually on
  371         its website and include the information in the
  372         department's annual report; creating s. 364.0137,
  373         F.S.; defining