Florida Senate - 2022                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. CS for SB 1800
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              
                  Comm: RCS            .                                
                  02/22/2022           .                                

       Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and
       Economic Development (Boyd) recommended the following:
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete everything after the enacting clause
    4  and insert:
    5         Section 1. Paragraph (g) is added to subsection (4) of
    6  section 288.9961, Florida Statutes, and subsection (6) is added
    7  to that section, to read:
    8         288.9961 Promotion of broadband adoption; Florida Office of
    9  Broadband.—
   10         (4) FLORIDA OFFICE OF BROADBAND.—The Florida Office of
   11  Broadband is created within the Division of Community
   12  Development in the department for the purpose of developing,
   13  marketing, and promoting broadband Internet services in this
   14  state. The office, in the performance of its duties, shall do
   15  all of the following:
   16         (g) Administer the Broadband Pole Replacement Program
   17  established in s. 288.9964.
   18         (6)REPORT.—Annually by January 31, the office shall
   19  provide a report to the Governor, the President of the Senate,
   20  and the Speaker of the House of Representatives which provides
   21  information on activities of the office to meet the requirements
   22  of this section, including any applications made and use of
   23  federal funds for broadband Internet service infrastructure,
   24  deployment, or access. The report shall also include, if funds
   25  have been appropriated to the programs, updates and information
   26  on administration and applications processed under the Broadband
   27  Opportunity Program established in s. 288.9962 and the Broadband
   28  Pole Replacement Program established in s. 288.9964, including
   29  identifying and examining the deployment of broadband
   30  infrastructure and technology facilitated by reimbursements
   31  provided under the Broadband Pole Replacement Program.
   32         Section 2. Section 288.9964, Florida Statutes, is created
   33  to read:
   34         288.9964Broadband Pole Replacement Program.—
   35         (1)LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.—The Legislature finds that a
   36  broadband pole replacement program administered by the Florida
   37  Office of Broadband is necessary to further the state’s goal of
   38  expanding and accelerating access to broadband service in
   39  unserved areas throughout this state.
   40         (2)DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
   41         (a)“Applicant” means a private business, including a
   42  corporation, a limited liability company, a partnership, a
   43  nonprofit corporation, or any other private business entity that
   44  provides or will provide qualifying broadband service in this
   45  state.
   46         (b)“Application” means an application made under this
   47  section for an eligible pole replacement reimbursement.
   48         (c)“Broadband Internet service” means a service that
   49  offers a connection to the Internet with a capacity for
   50  transmission at a consistent speed of at least 25 megabits per
   51  second downstream and 3 megabits per second upstream.
   52         (e)“Eligible pole replacement” means the removal of an
   53  existing utility pole and its replacement with a new utility
   54  pole in an unserved area in order to accommodate the attachment
   55  to such new utility pole of facilities used in whole or in part
   56  by a retail provider of qualifying broadband service for the
   57  purpose of providing qualifying broadband service access to
   58  residences or businesses in that unserved area. The term does
   59  not include the removal and replacement of an existing utility
   60  pole by the pole owner or an affiliated company unless the
   61  removal or replacement is performed as an accommodation to a
   62  provider of qualifying broadband service.
   63         (f)“Eligible pole replacement costs” means the actual
   64  costs to perform an eligible pole replacement which are paid by
   65  an applicant, excluding any amount separately reimbursed through
   66  another state or federal broadband grant program or by some
   67  other governmental entity. The term includes the costs to remove
   68  and dispose of the existing utility pole, to purchase and
   69  install a replacement utility pole, and to transfer any existing
   70  facilities to the replacement utility pole.
   71         (g)“Office” means the Florida Office of Broadband.
   72         (h)“Pole” means any pole used in whole or in part for wire
   73  communications or electric distribution.
   74         (i)“Pole owner” means any electric utility as defined in
   75  s. 366.02(2), public utility as defined in s. 366.02(1),
   76  communications services provider as defined in s. 366.02(5),
   77  cable television operator, or local exchange carrier that owns
   78  or controls a pole.
   79         (j)“Program” means the Broadband Pole Replacement Program
   80  established under this section.
   81         (k)“Qualifying broadband service” means a fixed,
   82  terrestrial, retail wireline broadband Internet service capable
   83  of delivering Internet access at speeds of at least 100 megabits
   84  per second both downstream and upstream with latency at a level
   85  sufficient to allow real-time, interactive applications.
   86         (l)“Reimbursed through another state or federal broadband
   87  grant program” means, with respect to eligible pole replacement
   88  costs, that an applicant paying such costs has received or is
   89  entitled to receive reimbursement for such costs under the terms
   90  of another state or federal broadband grant program for the
   91  deployment of broadband facilities, whether through a specific
   92  reimbursement for such costs or through support payments that
   93  equal or exceed the person’s actual deployment costs, including
   94  eligible pole replacement costs. The term does not include the
   95  receipt of a state or federal grant that covers only a portion
   96  of the applicant’s actual deployment costs, including eligible
   97  pole replacement costs, if the applicant pays the eligible pole
   98  replacement costs with its own funds.
   99         (m)“Unserved area” means a location in which:
  100         1.At the time of a request by a retail provider of
  101  qualifying broadband service to attach facilities to a pole in
  102  such location, fixed, terrestrial, retail wireline broadband
  103  Internet service is unavailable, according to the latest
  104  available broadband deployment data from the Federal
  105  Communications Commission, provided that no person other than
  106  the applicant has committed to providing qualifying broadband
  107  service in such area; or
  108         2.An applicant is committed under the terms of a federal
  109  or state grant to provide qualifying broadband service, provided
  110  that the availability of such grant is limited to areas lacking
  111  access to fixed, terrestrial, retail wireline broadband Internet
  112  service.
  114         (a)The Broadband Pole Replacement Program is established
  115  within the Florida Office of Broadband. The office shall
  116  administer the program and is responsible for receiving and
  117  reviewing applications and distributing reimbursements under the
  118  program.
  119         (b)Any applicant that pays eligible pole replacement costs
  120  after July 1, 2022, is eligible for reimbursement of such costs
  121  under the program and may submit an application for
  122  reimbursement in accordance with this section.
  123         (c)Reimbursements provided under the program are subject
  124  to the availability of funds. The office shall accept
  125  applications for reimbursement until all funds appropriated to
  126  the program are exhausted. Reimbursements shall be made on a
  127  first come, first served basis. The office shall publish on its
  128  website information regarding the availability of funds and the
  129  date when applications may begin to be submitted.
  130         (d)An application pending when all funds are exhausted is
  131  deemed denied; however, the applicant may reapply if sufficient
  132  funds are later made available.
  133         (e)By September 1, 2022, the office shall publish an
  134  application form for reimbursement of eligible pole replacement
  135  costs under the program. The application must require the
  136  following:
  137         1.Information sufficient to establish the number and cost
  138  of eligible pole replacements that qualify for reimbursement
  139  under the program.
  140         2.Documentation sufficient to establish that the claimed
  141  eligible pole replacements have been completed.
  142         3.The total reimbursement amount requested and any state
  143  or federal grant funding or accounting information required to
  144  justify the amount requested.
  145         4.A notarized statement from an officer or agent of the
  146  applicant certifying that the contents of the application are
  147  true and accurate and that such applicant will comply with the
  148  requirements of this section as a condition of receiving
  149  reimbursement under the program.
  150         5.Receipts verifying the amount of eligible pole
  151  replacement costs paid by the applicant.
  152         6. Documentation sufficient to established the actual and
  153  reasonable administrative expenses paid by such applicant in
  154  preparing and submitting the application.
  155         7. Any other information or documentation required by the
  156  department to comply with the requirements or conditions, as
  157  applicable, of any federal funding used to pay reimbursements
  158  under the program.
  159         (f)Within 60 days after receipt of a complete application
  160  that establishes an applicant’s eligible pole replacement costs,
  161  the office shall reimburse the applicant in an amount equal to
  162  up to 50 percent of the total amount paid or $5,000, whichever
  163  is less, by such applicant for eligible pole replacement costs.
  164         (g) Reimbursements made under this program from funds
  165  appropriated from any federal funding received by this state
  166  must also be made in compliance with any requirements or
  167  conditions for use of such federal funds.
  168         (h)If the information required for application is not
  169  otherwise reasonably available to an applicant, an applicant may
  170  request that a pole owner performing an eligible pole
  171  replacement provide the number and costs of the pole
  172  replacements and receipts verifying the amount of eligible pole
  173  replacement costs paid by the applicant.
  174         (h)As a condition of receiving reimbursement under the
  175  program, an applicant must:
  176         1.Certify its compliance with the requirements of this
  177  section and with any federal conditions or requirements for use
  178  of federal funds as applicable; and
  179         2.Agree to refund with interest at the applicable Federal
  180  Funds rate as specified by s. 670.506 any reimbursements or
  181  portions thereof received under the program to the department,
  182  at the direction of the office, if the office finds, upon
  183  substantial evidence and after providing such applicant with
  184  notice and an opportunity to respond, that such applicant
  185  materially violated a requirement of this section with respect
  186  to such reimbursements or portions thereof. Any funds received
  187  by the office under this subparagraph shall be deposited into
  188  the fund from which the appropriation was made.
  189         (i)If applicable, an applicant that is a pole owner that
  190  calculates its pole rental and other fees on the basis of a
  191  formula required or approved by federal or state law or
  192  regulation which includes consideration of the pole owner’s
  193  expenses, must, as a condition of receiving reimbursement under
  194  the program, exclude from such expenses any eligible pole
  195  replacement costs that were reimbursed by the program, paid for
  196  by a retail provider of qualifying broadband service, or funded
  197  by another state or federal grant.
  198         (4)TRANSPARENCY.—The office shall publish and continually
  199  update the following information on its website:
  200         (a)Statistics on the number of applications received,
  201  processed, and denied under the program.
  202         (b)Statistics on the value, number, and status of
  203  reimbursements provided under the program, including the names
  204  of pole owners and retail providers of qualifying broadband
  205  service which received reimbursements under the program.
  206         (c)The amount of funds remaining from any appropriation.
  207         (5)RULEMAKING.—The department is authorized to adopt rules
  208  to establish the application and the conditions or requirements
  209  that must be met in order to use and receive any federal funding
  210  appropriated to the program.
  211         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2022.
  213  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  214  And the title is amended as follows:
  215         Delete everything before the enacting clause
  216  and insert:
  217                        A bill to be entitled                      
  218         An act relating to broadband infrastructure; amending
  219         s. 288.9961, F.S.; revising the duties of the Florida
  220         Office of Broadband to include administering the
  221         Broadband Pole Replacement Program; requiring the
  222         office to submit an annual report to the Governor and
  223         the Legislature; creating s. 288.9964, F.S.; providing
  224         legislative findings; defining terms; establishing the
  225         Broadband Pole Replacement Program within the office;
  226         providing responsibilities of the office; providing
  227         eligibility requirements for reimbursement under the
  228         program; providing that reimbursements are subject to
  229         the availability of certain funds; providing that
  230         certain denied applicants may reapply in certain
  231         circumstances; providing requirements for the program
  232         application; requiring the office to provide certain
  233         reimbursements within a certain period of time;
  234         authorizing an applicant to request certain
  235         information from a pole owner under certain
  236         circumstances; requiring an applicant to meet certain
  237         conditions; requiring the office to publish and
  238         continually update certain information on its public
  239         website; authorizing rulemaking; providing an
  240         effective date.