Florida Senate - 2021                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. SB 1560
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              
                  Comm: RCS            .                                
                  03/16/2021           .                                

       The Committee on Commerce and Tourism (Ausley) recommended the
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete lines 193 - 275
    4  and insert:
    5         (g)Administer the Broadband Opportunity Program
    6  established in s. 364.0136.
    7         (5)BROADBAND DEPLOYMENT TASK FORCE.—The Broadband
    8  Deployment Task Force, a task force as defined in s. 20.03(8),
    9  is established within the department to support and provide
   10  recommendations to the office for the deployment of broadband
   11  Internet service throughout this state, including, but not
   12  limited to, rural buildout and urban adoption strategies. The
   13  department shall provide administrative and technical assistance
   14  to the task force in the performance of its duties. The task
   15  force shall operate in a manner consistent with s. 20.052.
   16         (a)The task force shall be composed of the following
   17  members, who must be appointed by September 1, 2021, and who
   18  must have an interest and significant expertise in broadband
   19  Internet services:
   20         1.One member from each of the following state agencies,
   21  who shall be appointed by his or her agency head: the Department
   22  of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Department of
   23  Management Services, the Department of Transportation, the
   24  Department of Education, the Department of Health, and the
   25  Office of Technology and Information Services.
   26         2.One member from the Florida Association of Counties as a
   27  representative of underserved or unserved rural communities, who
   28  is recommended by the association and appointed by the executive
   29  director.
   30         3.One member from the Florida League of Cities as a
   31  representative of underserved or unserved rural communities, who
   32  is recommended by the league and appointed by the executive
   33  director.
   34         4.Two members of the public who are appointed by the
   35  Governor, including one member who resides in an underserved
   36  area of this state and one member who resides in an unserved
   37  area of this state.
   38         5.One member from each of the following segments of the
   39  broadband industry, who shall be appointed by the Governor: a
   40  wireless provider, a wireline provider, a broadband satellite
   41  provider, a cable provider, a rural local exchange carrier, and
   42  a competitive local exchange carrier.
   43         (b)Any vacancy on the task force must be filled in the
   44  same manner as the original appointment.
   45         (c)The task force shall:
   46         1.Identify any available federal funding sources for the
   47  expansion or improvement of broadband Internet services in this
   48  state.
   49         2.Identify any gaps in broadband Internet service coverage
   50  for any area of this state.
   51         3.Develop strategies to expand broadband Internet service
   52  to any area of this state designated as a rural area of
   53  opportunity, including, but not limited to, methods of building
   54  partnerships with local governments, other state and federal
   55  entities, electric utilities, the business community, and the
   56  public to support broadband Internet service in such areas.
   57         4.Develop an urban adoption strategy to address areas of
   58  this state which have broadband Internet service, but where such
   59  service is not affordable.
   60         5.Identify specific projects that will accomplish the
   61  deployment of broadband Internet service throughout this state,
   62  including grants provided through the rural infrastructure fund
   63  pursuant to s. 288.0655(2)(b).
   64         6.Coordinate with the Cabinet, state agencies, and other
   65  governmental entities with oversight in broadband Internet
   66  activities or potential funding opportunities.
   67         7.Recommend outreach strategies and partnerships for
   68  maximum use of the federal Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
   69  within the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, Pub. L. No.
   70  116-260 and regulations adopted thereunder.
   71         (d)The task force shall submit a report of its findings
   72  and recommendations to the Governor, the President of the
   73  Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by
   74  December 30, 2022, and each year thereafter.
   75         (6)CONFIDENTIALITY.—Any information that is confidential
   76  or exempt from public disclosure under chapter 119 when in the
   77  possession of the department retains its status as confidential
   78  or exempt from disclosure under chapter 119 when provided by a
   79  broadband service provider under this section.
   80         (7)(5) ADMINISTRATION.—The department may:
   81         (a) Apply for and accept federal funds for purposes of this
   82  section.
   83         (b) Enter into contracts necessary or useful to carry out
   84  the purposes of this section.
   85         (c) Establish any committee or workgroup to administer and
   86  carry out the purposes of this section.
   87         Section 2. Section 364.0136, Florida Statutes, is created
   88  to read:
   89         364.0136Broadband Opportunity Program.—
   90         (1)The Broadband Opportunity Program is established within
   91  the Florida Office of Broadband within the Department of
   92  Economic Opportunity to award grants to applicants who seek to
   93  expand broadband Internet service to unserved and underserved
   94  areas of this state. The office must administer and act as
   95  fiscal agent for the program and is responsible for receiving
   96  and reviewing applications and awarding grants. Funding for the
   97  program shall be as provided in s. 338.2278(7)(b).
   98         (2)Grants awarded under this section shall fund the
   99  installation or deployment of infrastructure that supports the
  100  provision of broadband Internet service. State funds may not be
  101  used to install or deploy broadband Internet service to a
  102  geographic area in which broadband Internet service is already
  103  deployed by at least one provider.
  104         (3)Applicants eligible for grant awards include:
  105         (a)Corporations, nonprofit corporations, limited liability
  106  companies, general partnerships, and limited partnerships that
  107  are organized under the laws of this state or otherwise
  108  authorized to transact business in this state.
  109         (b)Political subdivisions.
  110         (c)Rural electric cooperatives organized under chapter 425
  111  and their broadband affiliates.
  112         (d)Indian tribes.
  113         (4)The office may not award, directly or indirectly,
  114  grants under this section to a governmental entity, a rural
  115  electric cooperative or its broadband affiliate, or an
  116  educational institution or affiliate to provide broadband
  117  Internet service to any residential or commercial premises,
  118  unless other broadband Internet service providers have not
  119  deployed service to an unserved or underserved area.
  120         (5)An eligible applicant shall submit a grant application
  121  to the office on a form prescribed by the office. A grant
  122  application must include all of the following information:
  123         (a)A description of the project area.
  124         (b)A description of the kind and amount of broadband
  125  Internet service infrastructure which is proposed.
  126         (c)Evidence demonstrating the unserved or underserved
  127  nature of the project area.
  128         (d)The number of households and businesses which would
  129  have access to broadband Internet service as a result of the
  130  grant.
  131         (e)A list of significant community institutions that would
  132  benefit from the grant.
  133         (f)The total cost of the project and the timeframe in
  134  which it would be completed.
  135         (g)A list identifying sources of funding or in-kind
  136  contributions that would supplement any awarded grant.
  137         (h)Any other information required by the office.
  138         (6)(a)At least 30 days before the first day grant
  139  applications may be submitted each fiscal year, the office shall
  140  publish on its website the specific criteria and quantitative
  141  scoring system it will use to evaluate or rank grant
  142  applications. Such criteria and quantitative scoring system must
  143  include the criteria set forth in subsection (7).
  144         (b)Within 3 business days after the close of the grant
  145  application process, the office shall publish on its website,
  146  from each grant application submitted, the proposed unserved or
  147  underserved areas to be served and the proposed broadband
  148  Internet speeds of the areas to be served.
  149         (c)A broadband Internet service provider that provides
  150  existing service in or adjacent to a proposed project area may
  151  submit to the office, within 45 days after publication of the
  152  information under paragraph (b), a written challenge to an
  153  application. The challenge must contain information
  154  demonstrating that:
  155         1.The provider currently has deployed broadband Internet
  156  service to retail customers within the project area;
  157         2.The provider has begun construction to provide broadband
  158  Internet service to retail customers within the proposed project
  159  area within the timeframe proposed by the applicant; or
  160         3.The provider commits to providing broadband Internet
  161  service to retail customers within the proposed project area
  162  within the timeframe proposed by the applicant.
  163         (d)Within 3 business days after the submission of a
  164  written challenge, the office shall notify the applicant, in
  165  writing, of the challenge.
  166         (e)The office shall evaluate each challenge submitted
  167  under this subsection. If the office determines that the
  168  provider currently has deployed, has begun construction to
  169  provide, or commits to provide broadband Internet service in the
  170  proposed project area, the office may not fund the challenged
  171  project.
  172         (f)If the office denies funding to an applicant as a
  173  result of a broadband Internet service provider’s challenge, and
  174  the provider does not fulfill its commitment to provide
  175  broadband Internet service in the unserved or underserved area,
  176  the office may not consider another challenge from the provider
  177  for the next two grant application cycles, unless the office
  178  determines that the failure to fulfill the commitment was due to
  179  circumstances beyond the provider’s control.
  180         (7)(a)In evaluating grant applications and awarding
  181  grants, the office must give priority to applications that:
  182         1.Offer broadband Internet service to important community
  183  institutions, including, but not limited to, libraries,
  184  educational institutions, public safety facilities, and health
  185  care facilities;
  186         2.Facilitate the use of telemedicine and electronic health
  187  records;
  188         3.Serve economically distressed areas of this state, as
  189  measured by indices of unemployment, poverty, or population loss
  190  which are significantly greater than the statewide average;
  191         4.Provide for scalability to transmission speeds of at
  192  least 100 megabits per second download and 10 megabits per
  193  second upload;
  194         5.Include a component to actively promote the adoption of
  195  the newly available broadband Internet service in the community;
  196         6.Provide evidence of strong support for the project from
  197  residents, government, businesses, and institutions in the
  198  community;
  199         7.Provide access to broadband Internet service to the
  200  greatest number of unserved and underserved households and
  201  businesses;
  202         8.Leverage greater amounts of funding for a project from
  203  private sources; or
  204         9.Demonstrate consistency with the strategic plan adopted
  205  under s. 364.0135.
  206         (b)The office must endeavor to award grants to qualified
  207  applications serving all regions of this state.
  208         (8)(a)The office may not award any grant to an otherwise
  209  eligible grant applicant to provide broadband Internet service
  210  in a project area for which any other federal funding has been
  211  awarded.
  212         (b)A grant awarded under this section may not be used to
  213  serve any retail end user that already has access to broadband
  214  Internet service.
  215         (c)A grant awarded under this section, when combined with
  216  any state or local funds, may not fund more than 50 percent of
  217  the total cost of a project.
  218         (d)A single project may not be awarded a grant in excess
  219  of $5 million.
  220         (9)For each grant awarded, the office shall enter into an
  221  agreement with the applicant. The agreement must specify the
  222  total amount of the grant, performance conditions that must be
  223  met to obtain the grant, the schedule of payment, and sanctions
  224  that would apply for failure to meet performance conditions,
  225  including, but not limited to, requiring the return of grant
  226  funds.
  227         (10)By January 1, 2023, and each year thereafter, the
  228  office shall publish on its website and provide to the Governor,
  229  the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of
  230  Representatives all of the following information:
  231         (a)A list of all grant applications received during the
  232  previous fiscal year and for each application:
  233         1.The results of any quantitative weighting or scoring
  234  system the office used to award grants or rank the applications.
  235         2.The grant amounts requested.
  236         3.The grant amounts awarded, if any.
  237         4.A report on the progress of each grant recipient in
  238  acquiring and installing infrastructure that supports the
  239  provision of broadband Internet service in the project areas for
  240  which that grant was awarded and in securing adoption of such
  241  service in each project area.
  242         (b)All written challenges filed during the previous year
  243  and the results of those challenges.
  244         Section 3. Subsection (7) of section 338.2278, Florida
  245  Statutes, is amended to read:
  246         338.2278 Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic
  247  Significance Program.—
  248         (7) Funds that result from increased revenues to the State
  249  Transportation Trust Fund derived from the amendments to s.
  250  320.08 made by chapter 2019-43, Laws of Florida, this act and
  251  deposited into the fund pursuant to s. 320.20(5)(a) must be used
  252  as follows:
  253         (a)For the 2019-2020 fiscal year, $45 million shall be
  254  retained in the State Transportation Trust Fund, and the
  255  remaining funds shall be transferred to the General Revenue
  256  Fund.
  257         (a)(b) For the 2020-2021 fiscal year, $90 million shall be
  258  retained in the State Transportation Trust Fund, and the
  259  remaining funds shall be transferred to the General Revenue
  260  Fund.
  261         (b)(c) For the 2021-2022 fiscal year and each fiscal year
  262  thereafter, 50 percent of the funds shall be transferred to the
  263  State Economic Enhancement and Development Trust Fund within the
  264  Department of Economic Opportunity for use by the Florida Office
  265  of Broadband as provided in s. 364.0135, and all of the
  266  remaining funds shall be retained in the State Transportation
  267  Trust Fund. For the 2021-2022 fiscal year, $1 million of such
  268  funds transferred for use by the Florida Office of Broadband
  269  shall be used for the express purpose of funding the office’s
  270  mapping duties under s. 364.0135(4).
  271         Section 4. Section 364.0137, Florida Statutes, is created
  272  to read:
  273         364.0137Broadband assistance funds.—
  275  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  276  And the title is amended as follows:
  277         Delete line 31
  278  and insert:
  279         364.0136, F.S.; creating the Broadband Opportunity
  280         Program within the office; providing for
  281         administration of the program; providing requirements
  282         for grant awards; providing eligibility requirements;
  283         providing application requirements; requiring the
  284         office to publish certain information related to grant
  285         applications and grant awards on its website;
  286         authorizing grant applications to be challenged under
  287         certain circumstances; specifying contents of a
  288         challenge; providing procedures to be used by the
  289         office in evaluating challenges; providing direction
  290         for prioritizing grant funding; specifying conditions
  291         for the award of grants; requiring the office to enter
  292         into an agreement containing specified information
  293         with each grant recipient; requiring the office to
  294         publish specified information annually on its website
  295         and provide the information to the Governor and
  296         Legislature; amending s. 338.2278, F.S.; transferring,
  297         beginning in a specified fiscal year, certain funds
  298         from the State Transportation Trust Fund to the State
  299         Economic Enhancement and Development Trust Fund within
  300         the department annually for use by the office;
  301         requiring a specified portion of such funds, for the
  302         2021-2022 fiscal year, to be used for specified
  303         mapping purposes; creating s. 364.0137, F.S.; defining
  304         terms; requiring the office