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 to Amendment (186496) (with title
    2  amendment)
    4         Delete lines 97 - 270
    5  and insert:
    6  program shall be subject to appropriation.
    7         (2)Grants awarded under this section shall fund the
    8  installation or deployment of infrastructure that supports the
    9  provision of broadband Internet service. State funds may not be
   10  used to install or deploy broadband Internet service to a
   11  geographic area in which broadband Internet service is already
   12  deployed by at least one provider.
   13         (3)Applicants eligible for grant awards include:
   14         (a)Corporations, nonprofit corporations, limited liability
   15  companies, general partnerships, and limited partnerships that
   16  are organized under the laws of this state or otherwise
   17  authorized to transact business in this state.
   18         (b)Political subdivisions.
   19         (c)Rural electric cooperatives organized under chapter 425
   20  and their broadband affiliates.
   21         (d)Indian tribes.
   22         (4)The office may not award, directly or indirectly,
   23  grants under this section to a governmental entity, a rural
   24  electric cooperative or its broadband affiliate, or an
   25  educational institution or affiliate to provide broadband
   26  Internet service to any residential or commercial premises,
   27  unless other broadband Internet service providers have not
   28  deployed service to an unserved or underserved area.
   29         (5)An eligible applicant shall submit a grant application
   30  to the office on a form prescribed by the office. A grant
   31  application must include all of the following information:
   32         (a)A description of the project area.
   33         (b)A description of the kind and amount of broadband
   34  Internet service infrastructure which is proposed.
   35         (c)Evidence demonstrating the unserved or underserved
   36  nature of the project area.
   37         (d)The number of households and businesses which would
   38  have access to broadband Internet service as a result of the
   39  grant.
   40         (e)A list of significant community institutions that would
   41  benefit from the grant.
   42         (f)The total cost of the project and the timeframe in
   43  which it would be completed.
   44         (g)A list identifying sources of funding or in-kind
   45  contributions that would supplement any awarded grant.
   46         (h)Any other information required by the office.
   47         (6)(a)At least 30 days before the first day grant
   48  applications may be submitted each fiscal year, the office shall
   49  publish on its website the specific criteria and quantitative
   50  scoring system it will use to evaluate or rank grant
   51  applications. Such criteria and quantitative scoring system must
   52  include the criteria set forth in subsection (7).
   53         (b)Within 3 business days after the close of the grant
   54  application process, the office shall publish on its website,
   55  from each grant application submitted, the proposed unserved or
   56  underserved areas to be served and the proposed broadband
   57  Internet speeds of the areas to be served.
   58         (c)A broadband Internet service provider that provides
   59  existing service in or adjacent to a proposed project area may
   60  submit to the office, within 45 days after publication of the
   61  information under paragraph (b), a written challenge to an
   62  application. The challenge must contain information
   63  demonstrating that:
   64         1.The provider currently has deployed broadband Internet
   65  service to retail customers within the project area;
   66         2.The provider has begun construction to provide broadband
   67  Internet service to retail customers within the proposed project
   68  area within the timeframe proposed by the applicant; or
   69         3.The provider commits to providing broadband Internet
   70  service to retail customers within the proposed project area
   71  within the timeframe proposed by the applicant.
   72         (d)Within 3 business days after the submission of a
   73  written challenge, the office shall notify the applicant, in
   74  writing, of the challenge.
   75         (e)The office shall evaluate each challenge submitted
   76  under this subsection. If the office determines that the
   77  provider currently has deployed, has begun construction to
   78  provide, or commits to provide broadband Internet service in the
   79  proposed project area, the office may not fund the challenged
   80  project.
   81         (f)If the office denies funding to an applicant as a
   82  result of a broadband Internet service provider’s challenge, and
   83  the provider does not fulfill its commitment to provide
   84  broadband Internet service in the unserved or underserved area,
   85  the office may not consider another challenge from the provider
   86  for the next two grant application cycles, unless the office
   87  determines that the failure to fulfill the commitment was due to
   88  circumstances beyond the provider’s control.
   89         (7)(a)In evaluating grant applications and awarding
   90  grants, the office must give priority to applications that:
   91         1.Offer broadband Internet service to important community
   92  institutions, including, but not limited to, libraries,
   93  educational institutions, public safety facilities, and health
   94  care facilities;
   95         2.Facilitate the use of telemedicine and electronic health
   96  records;
   97         3.Serve economically distressed areas of this state, as
   98  measured by indices of unemployment, poverty, or population loss
   99  which are significantly greater than the statewide average;
  100         4.Provide for scalability to transmission speeds of at
  101  least 100 megabits per second download and 10 megabits per
  102  second upload;
  103         5.Include a component to actively promote the adoption of
  104  the newly available broadband Internet service in the community;
  105         6.Provide evidence of strong support for the project from
  106  residents, government, businesses, and institutions in the
  107  community;
  108         7.Provide access to broadband Internet service to the
  109  greatest number of unserved and underserved households and
  110  businesses;
  111         8.Leverage greater amounts of funding for a project from
  112  private sources; or
  113         9.Demonstrate consistency with the strategic plan adopted
  114  under s. 364.0135.
  115         (b)The office must endeavor to award grants to qualified
  116  applications serving all regions of this state.
  117         (8)(a)The office may not award any grant to an otherwise
  118  eligible grant applicant to provide broadband Internet service
  119  in a project area for which any other federal funding has been
  120  awarded.
  121         (b)A grant awarded under this section may not be used to
  122  serve any retail end user that already has access to broadband
  123  Internet service.
  124         (c)A grant awarded under this section, when combined with
  125  any state or local funds, may not fund more than 50 percent of
  126  the total cost of a project.
  127         (d)A single project may not be awarded a grant in excess
  128  of $5 million.
  129         (9)For each grant awarded, the office shall enter into an
  130  agreement with the applicant. The agreement must specify the
  131  total amount of the grant, performance conditions that must be
  132  met to obtain the grant, the schedule of payment, and sanctions
  133  that would apply for failure to meet performance conditions,
  134  including, but not limited to, requiring the return of grant
  135  funds.
  136         (10)By January 1, 2023, and each year thereafter, the
  137  office shall publish on its website and provide to the Governor,
  138  the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of
  139  Representatives all of the following information:
  140         (a)A list of all grant applications received during the
  141  previous fiscal year and for each application:
  142         1.The results of any quantitative weighting or scoring
  143  system the office used to award grants or rank the applications.
  144         2.The grant amounts requested.
  145         3.The grant amounts awarded, if any.
  146         4.A report on the progress of each grant recipient in
  147  acquiring and installing infrastructure that supports the
  148  provision of broadband Internet service in the project areas for
  149  which that grant was awarded and in securing adoption of such
  150  service in each project area.
  151         (b)All written challenges filed during the previous year
  152  and the results of those challenges.
  154  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  155  And the title is amended as follows:
  156         Delete lines 296 - 303
  157  and insert:
  158         Legislature; creating s. 364.0137, F.S.; defining