Florida Senate - 2021                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. PCS (419562) for CS for SB 1560
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              
                  Comm: RCS            .                                
                  04/20/2021           .                                

       The Committee on Appropriations (Ausley) recommended the
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete everything after the enacting clause
    4  and insert:
    5         Section 1. Section 364.0135, Florida Statutes, is amended
    6  to read:
    7         364.0135 Promotion of broadband adoption; Florida Office of
    8  Broadband.—
    9         (1) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.—The Legislature finds that the
   10  sustainable adoption of broadband Internet service is critical
   11  to the economic and business development of this the state and
   12  is essential beneficial for all residents of this state,
   13  libraries, schools, colleges and universities, health care
   14  providers, and community organizations.
   15         (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
   16         (a) “Department” means the Department of Economic
   17  Opportunity.
   18         (b) “Office” means the Florida Office of Broadband.
   19         (c) “Sustainable adoption” means the ability for
   20  communications service providers to offer broadband services in
   21  all areas of this the state by encouraging adoption and use
   22  utilization levels that allow for these services to be offered
   23  in the free market absent the need for governmental subsidy.
   24         (d) “Underserved” means a geographic area of this the state
   25  in which there is no provider of broadband Internet service that
   26  offers a connection to the Internet with a capacity for
   27  transmission at a consistent speed of at least 100 10 megabits
   28  per second downstream and at least 10 megabits 1 megabit per
   29  second upstream.
   30         (e) “Unserved” means a geographic area of this state in
   31  which there is no provider of broadband Internet service that
   32  offers a connection to the Internet with a capacity for
   33  transmission at a consistent speed of at least 25 megabits per
   34  second downstream and at least 3 megabits per second upstream.
   35         (3) STATE AGENCY.—The department is designated as the lead
   36  state agency to facilitate the expansion of broadband Internet
   37  service in this the state. The department shall work
   38  collaboratively with private businesses and receive staffing
   39  support and other resources from Enterprise Florida, Inc., state
   40  agencies, local governments, and community organizations.
   41         (4) FLORIDA OFFICE OF BROADBAND.—The Florida Office of
   42  Broadband is created within the Division of Community
   43  Development in the department for the purpose of developing,
   44  marketing, and promoting broadband Internet services in this the
   45  state. The office, in the performance of its duties, shall do
   46  all of the following:
   47         (a) Create a strategic plan that has short-term and long
   48  term goals and strategies for increasing and improving the
   49  availability of and access to use of broadband Internet service
   50  in this the state. In development of the plan, the department
   51  shall incorporate applicable federal broadband activities,
   52  including any efforts or initiatives of the Federal
   53  Communications Commission, to improve broadband Internet service
   54  in this state. The plan must include a process to review and
   55  verify public input regarding transmission speeds and
   56  availability of broadband Internet service throughout the state.
   57  The plan must identify available federal funding sources for the
   58  expansion or improvement of broadband. The strategic plan must
   59  be submitted to the Governor, the Chief Justice of the Supreme
   60  Court, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House
   61  of Representatives by June 30, 2022. The strategic plan must be
   62  updated biennially thereafter.
   63         (b) Build and facilitate local technology planning teams
   64  or partnerships with members representing cross-sections of the
   65  community, which may include, but are not limited to,
   66  representatives from the following organizations and industries:
   67  libraries, K-12 education, colleges and universities, local
   68  health care providers, private businesses, community
   69  organizations, economic development organizations, local
   70  governments, tourism, parks and recreation, and agriculture. The
   71  local technology planning teams or partnerships shall work with
   72  rural communities to help the communities understand their
   73  current broadband availability, locate unserved and underserved
   74  businesses and residents, identify assets relevant to broadband
   75  deployment, build partnerships with broadband service providers,
   76  and identify opportunities to leverage assets and reduce
   77  barriers to the deployment of broadband Internet services in the
   78  community. The teams or partnerships must be proactive in
   79  fiscally constrained counties in identifying and providing
   80  assistance with applying for federal grants for broadband
   81  Internet service.
   82         (c)Provide technical and planning assistance related to
   83  broadband infrastructure to rural communities.
   84         (d)(c) Encourage the use of broadband Internet service,
   85  especially in the rural, unserved, or underserved communities of
   86  this the state through grant programs having effective
   87  strategies to facilitate the statewide deployment of broadband
   88  Internet service. For any grants to be awarded, priority must be
   89  given to projects that:
   90         1. Provide access to broadband education, awareness,
   91  training, access, equipment, and support to libraries, schools,
   92  colleges and universities, health care providers, and community
   93  support organizations.
   94         2. Encourage the sustainable adoption of broadband in
   95  primarily underserved areas by removing barriers to entry.
   96         3. Work toward encouraging investments in establishing
   97  affordable and sustainable broadband Internet service in
   98  underserved areas of this the state.
   99         4. Facilitate the development of applications, programs,
  100  and services, including, but not limited to, telework,
  101  telemedicine, and e-learning to increase the usage of, and
  102  demand for, broadband Internet service in this the state.
  103         (e)(d) Monitor, participate in, and provide input in
  104  proceedings of the Federal Communications Commission and other
  105  federal agencies related to the geographic availability and
  106  deployment of broadband Internet service in this the state as
  107  necessary to ensure that this information is accurately
  108  presented and that rural, unserved, and underserved areas of
  109  this the state are best positioned to benefit from federal and
  110  state broadband deployment programs.
  111         (f)By June 30, 2022, and subject to appropriation, develop
  112  geographic information system maps of broadband Internet service
  113  availability throughout this state. The office shall collaborate
  114  with broadband service providers, state agencies, local
  115  governmental entities, private businesses, educational
  116  institutions, and community organizations and leaders to develop
  117  such maps.
  118         1.The maps must do all of the following:
  119         a.Be consistent with the Digital Opportunity Data
  120  Collection program reporting standards established by the
  121  Federal Communications Commission.
  122         b.Identify where broadband-capable networks exist and
  123  broadband Internet service is available to end users.
  124         c.Identify download and upload transmission speeds made
  125  available to businesses and individuals in this state.
  126         d.Identify gaps in broadband Internet service coverage,
  127  specifying underserved and unserved areas within those areas of
  128  this state designated as a rural area of opportunity under s.
  129  288.0656(2).
  130         e.Include any other mapping information already compiled
  131  by other state agencies.
  132         f.Be updated annually.
  133         2.Any mapping data received from another governmental
  134  entity or a contractor must be verified. Such data must be
  135  verified against the source of the data and whether such entity
  136  is able to demonstrate that it has employed a sound and reliable
  137  methodology in the collection, organization, and verification of
  138  the data it has submitted to the office. If a governmental
  139  entity enters into a valid contract with a contractor to collect
  140  broadband availability data, the entity must describe the third
  141  party providing the data as well as the methodology used to
  142  collect, organize, and verify the availability data provided.
  143         3.The office must establish a mechanism to receive and
  144  verify public input which identifies locations in which
  145  broadband Internet service is not available, including locations
  146  in which broadband Internet service is provided at data
  147  transmission speeds below the standard established by the
  148  Federal Communications Commission for broadband Internet
  149  service. Upon verification, the office shall adjust its
  150  geographic information system maps to reflect information
  151  received from the public. In developing and implementing this
  152  mechanism, the office may work in collaboration with, and
  153  receive staffing support and other resources from, Enterprise
  154  Florida, Inc., state agencies, local governments, private
  155  businesses, and community organizations.
  156         (g)By June 30, 2022, and subject to appropriation, develop
  157  a broadband infrastructure asset map that includes, but is not
  158  limited to:
  159         1.State and federal assets, including, but not limited to,
  160  municipally or city-owned towers that may be used by providers;
  161  rights-of-way that may be made available for easier and less
  162  expensive access to burying or stringing fiber optic cable;
  163  public transportation corridors; capital projects that may be
  164  used as an opportunity to lay new fiber optic conduit for future
  165  activation; and federal E-rate funding commitments; and
  166         2.Community-owned land and infrastructure, including, but
  167  not limited to, land that may be leased and utility poles that
  168  may be used to expand broadband networks.
  169         (h)Administer the Broadband Opportunity Program
  170  established in s. 364.0136.
  171         (5)CONFIDENTIALITY.—Any information that is confidential
  172  or exempt from public disclosure under chapter 119 when in the
  173  possession of the department retains its status as confidential
  174  or exempt from disclosure under chapter 119 when provided by a
  175  broadband service provider under this section.
  176         (6)(5) ADMINISTRATION.—The department may:
  177         (a) Apply for and accept federal funds for purposes of this
  178  section.
  179         (b) Enter into contracts necessary or useful to carry out
  180  the purposes of this section.
  181         (c) Establish any committee or workgroup to administer and
  182  carry out the purposes of this section.
  183         Section 2. Section 364.0136, Florida Statutes, is created
  184  to read:
  185         364.0136Broadband Opportunity Program.—
  186         (1)The Broadband Opportunity Program is established within
  187  the Florida Office of Broadband within the Department of
  188  Economic Opportunity to award grants to applicants who seek to
  189  expand broadband Internet service to unserved and underserved
  190  areas of this state. The office must administer and act as
  191  fiscal agent for the program and is responsible for receiving
  192  and reviewing applications and awarding grants. Funding for the
  193  program shall be subject to appropriation.
  194         (2)Grants awarded under this section shall fund the
  195  installation or deployment of infrastructure that supports the
  196  provision of broadband Internet service. State funds may not be
  197  used to install or deploy broadband Internet service to a
  198  geographic area in which broadband Internet service is already
  199  deployed by at least one provider.
  200         (3)Applicants eligible for grant awards include:
  201         (a)Corporations, limited liability companies, general
  202  partnerships, and limited partnerships that are organized under
  203  the laws of this state or otherwise authorized to transact
  204  business in this state.
  205         (b)Indian tribes.
  206         (c) A political subdivision in partnership with a provider
  207  of broadband Internet service.
  208         (4)The office may not award, directly or indirectly,
  209  grants under this section to a governmental entity, a rural
  210  electric cooperative or its broadband affiliate, or an
  211  educational institution or affiliate to provide broadband
  212  Internet service to any residential or commercial premises,
  213  unless other broadband Internet service providers have not
  214  deployed service to an unserved or underserved area. This
  215  subsection does not apply to provision of broadband Internet
  216  service in an unserved or underserved area in a fiscally
  217  constrained county as defined in s. 218.67.
  218         (5)An eligible applicant shall submit a grant application
  219  to the office on a form prescribed by the office. A grant
  220  application must include all of the following information:
  221         (a)A description of the project area.
  222         (b)A description of the kind and amount of broadband
  223  Internet service infrastructure which is proposed.
  224         (c)Evidence demonstrating the unserved or underserved
  225  nature of the project area.
  226         (d)The number of households and businesses which would
  227  have access to broadband Internet service as a result of the
  228  grant.
  229         (e)A list of significant community institutions that would
  230  benefit from the grant.
  231         (f)The total cost of the project and the timeframe in
  232  which it would be completed.
  233         (g)A list identifying sources of funding or in-kind
  234  contributions that would supplement any awarded grant.
  235         (h)Any other information required by the office.
  236         (6)(a)At least 30 days before the first day grant
  237  applications may be submitted each fiscal year, the office shall
  238  publish on its website the specific criteria and quantitative
  239  scoring system it will use to evaluate or rank grant
  240  applications. Such criteria and quantitative scoring system must
  241  include the criteria set forth in subsection (7).
  242         (b)Within 3 business days after the close of the grant
  243  application process, the office shall publish on its website,
  244  from each grant application submitted, the proposed unserved or
  245  underserved areas to be served and the proposed broadband
  246  Internet speeds of the areas to be served.
  247         (c)A broadband Internet service provider that provides
  248  existing service in or adjacent to a proposed project area may
  249  submit to the office, within 45 days after publication of the
  250  information under paragraph (b), a written challenge to an
  251  application. The challenge must contain information
  252  demonstrating that:
  253         1.The provider currently has deployed broadband Internet
  254  service to retail customers within the project area;
  255         2.The provider has begun construction to provide broadband
  256  Internet service to retail customers within the proposed project
  257  area within the timeframe proposed by the applicant; or
  258         3.The provider commits to providing broadband Internet
  259  service to retail customers within the proposed project area
  260  within the timeframe proposed by the applicant.
  261         (d)Within 3 business days after the submission of a
  262  written challenge, the office shall notify the applicant, in
  263  writing, of the challenge.
  264         (e)The office shall evaluate each challenge submitted
  265  under this subsection. If the office determines that the
  266  provider currently has deployed, has begun construction to
  267  provide, or commits to provide broadband Internet service in the
  268  proposed project area, the office may not fund the challenged
  269  project.
  270         (f)If the office denies funding to an applicant as a
  271  result of a broadband Internet service provider’s challenge, and
  272  the provider does not fulfill its commitment to provide
  273  broadband Internet service in the unserved or underserved area,
  274  the office may not consider another challenge from the provider
  275  for the next two grant application cycles, unless the office
  276  determines that the failure to fulfill the commitment was due to
  277  circumstances beyond the provider’s control.
  278         (7)(a)Notwithstanding s. 364.0135(4)(c), in evaluating
  279  grant applications and awarding grants, the office must give
  280  priority to applications that:
  281         1.Offer broadband Internet service to important community
  282  institutions, including, but not limited to, libraries,
  283  educational institutions, public safety facilities, and health
  284  care facilities;
  285         2.Facilitate the use of telemedicine and electronic health
  286  records;
  287         3.Serve economically distressed areas of this state, as
  288  measured by indices of unemployment, poverty, or population loss
  289  which are significantly greater than the statewide average;
  290         4.Provide for scalability to transmission speeds of at
  291  least 100 megabits per second download and 10 megabits per
  292  second upload;
  293         5.Include a component to actively promote the adoption of
  294  the newly available broadband Internet service in the community;
  295         6.Provide evidence of strong support for the project from
  296  residents, government, businesses, and institutions in the
  297  community;
  298         7.Provide access to broadband Internet service to the
  299  greatest number of unserved and underserved households and
  300  businesses;
  301         8.Leverage greater amounts of funding for a project from
  302  private or federal sources; or
  303         9.Demonstrate consistency with the strategic plan adopted
  304  under s. 364.0135.
  305         (b)The office must endeavor to award grants to qualified
  306  applications serving all regions of this state.
  307         (8)(a)A grant awarded under this section may not be used
  308  to serve any retail end user that already has access to
  309  broadband Internet service.
  310         (b)A grant awarded under this section, when combined with
  311  any state, local, or federal funds, may not fund more than 50
  312  percent of the total cost of a project. However, the grant award
  313  may fund more than 50 percent of the total cost of a project in
  314  a fiscally constrained county as defined in s. 218.67.
  315         (c)A single project may not be awarded a grant in excess
  316  of $5 million.
  317         (9)For each grant awarded, the office shall enter into an
  318  agreement with the applicant. The agreement must specify the
  319  total amount of the grant, performance conditions that must be
  320  met to obtain the grant, the schedule of payment, and sanctions
  321  that would apply for failure to meet performance conditions,
  322  including, but not limited to, requiring the return of grant
  323  funds.
  324         (10)By October 15, 2022, and each year thereafter, the
  325  office shall publish on its website and include in the
  326  department’s annual report required under s. 20.60 all of the
  327  following information:
  328         (a)A list of all grant applications received during the
  329  previous fiscal year and for each application:
  330         1.The results of any quantitative weighting or scoring
  331  system the office used to award grants or rank the applications.
  332         2.The grant amounts requested.
  333         3.The grant amounts awarded, if any.
  334         4.A report on the progress of each grant recipient in
  335  acquiring and installing infrastructure that supports the
  336  provision of broadband Internet service in the project areas for
  337  which that grant was awarded and in securing adoption of such
  338  service in each project area.
  339         (b)All written challenges filed during the previous fiscal
  340  year and the results of those challenges.
  341         (11)The department may adopt rules to implement this
  342  section.
  343         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2021.
  345  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  346  And the title is amended as follows:
  347         Delete everything before the enacting clause
  348  and insert:
  349                        A bill to be entitled                      
  350         An act relating to broadband Internet service;
  351         amending s. 364.0135, F.S.; revising legislative
  352         findings; defining terms; revising the duties of the
  353         Florida Office of Broadband within the Department of
  354         Economic Opportunity; requiring the office’s strategic
  355         plan to include short-term and long-term goals for
  356         increasing the availability of and access to broadband
  357         Internet service in this state; providing requirements
  358         for the development of the plan; requiring the updated
  359         plan to be submitted to the Governor, the Chief
  360         Justice of the Supreme Court, and the Legislature by a
  361         specified date; requiring the plan to be updated
  362         biennially; requiring local technology planning teams
  363         or partnerships to work with rural communities for
  364         specified purposes; requiring the office to provide
  365         technical and planning assistance related to broadband
  366         infrastructure to rural communities; requiring the
  367         office to develop geographic information system maps
  368         in collaboration with specified entities and
  369         consistent with certain federal reporting standards by
  370         a specified date; specifying required contents of the
  371         maps; requiring the department to annually update such
  372         maps and establish a mechanism to receive and verify
  373         governmental and public input related to broadband
  374         Internet service; authorizing the department to work
  375         collaboratively with specified entities in developing
  376         the mechanism; requiring the office to develop a
  377         broadband infrastructure asset map by a specified
  378         date; specifying required contents of the map;
  379         providing that certain information provided to the
  380         department from broadband service providers retains
  381         its exemption from public disclosure; providing
  382         rulemaking authority; creating s. 364.0136, F.S.;
  383         creating the Broadband Opportunity Program within the
  384         office; providing for administration of the program;
  385         providing requirements for grant awards; providing
  386         eligibility requirements; providing application
  387         requirements; requiring the office to publish certain
  388         information related to grant applications and grant
  389         awards on its website; authorizing grant applications
  390         to be challenged under certain circumstances;
  391         specifying contents of a challenge; providing
  392         procedures to be used by the office in evaluating
  393         challenges; providing direction for prioritizing grant
  394         funding; specifying conditions for the award of
  395         grants; requiring the office to enter into an
  396         agreement containing specified information with each
  397         grant recipient; requiring the office to publish
  398         specified information annually on its website and
  399         include the information in the department’s annual
  400         report; providing an effective date.