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SB-1058 Communications: Moore Universal Telephone Service Act and internet service providers.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 06/02/2020 09:00 PM
SB1058:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  June 02, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  May 06, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  April 03, 2020

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 1058


Introduced by Senator Hueso
(Coauthor: Senator Hill)

February 18, 2020


An act to add Sections 879.6 and 884.6 to the Public Utilities Code, relating to communications, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 1058, as amended, Hueso. Communications: Moore Universal Telephone Service Act and internet service providers.
Under existing law, the Public Utilities Commission has regulatory authority over public utilities, including telephone corporations. The Moore Universal Telephone Service Act requires the commission to annually designate a class of lifeline service necessary to meet minimum residential communications needs, including the ability to originate and receive calls and the ability to access electronic information service, to set the rates and charges for that service, to develop eligibility criteria for that service, and to assess the degree of achievement of universal service, including telephone penetration rates by income, ethnicity, and geography. Lifeline telephone service program rates are required to be set at no more than 50% of either the basic rate for measured service or the basic flat rate service, as applicable, exclusive of federally mandated end user access charges that are available to the residential subscriber.
This bill would require the commission to evaluate the extent to which federal reductions in lifeline telephone service subsidies and the lack of access to reliable, affordable broadband voice service would result in rates limiting access to basic voice service. If the commission finds that federal reductions could result in the loss of basic voice services by increasing costs to California lifeline telephone service subscribers for those services, the bill would require the commission to adjust the state-level subsidies for those services in a manner that ensures that California lifeline telephone service subscribers retain affordable access to basic voice services, as specified.
Existing law requires the commission to develop and implement performance reliability standards, for backup power systems installed on the property of residential and small commercial customers by a facilities-based provider of telephony services, with implementation dependent upon the commission determining that the benefits of the standards exceed the costs. Existing law requires the commission to develop and implement performance reliability standards, for backup power systems installed on the property of residential and small commercial customers by a facilities-based provider of telephony services, with implementation dependent upon the commission determining that the benefits of the standards exceed the costs. Existing law requires the commission, in consultation with the Office of Emergency Services, to open an investigative or other appropriate proceeding to identify the need for telecommunications service systems not on the customer’s premises to have backup electricity to enable telecommunications networks to function and to enable the customer to contact a public safety answering point operator during an electrical outage, to determine performance criteria for backup systems, and to determine whether specified recommended best practices for backup systems have been implemented by telecommunications service providers operating in California. If the commission determines it is in the public interest, the commission is required to develop and implement performance reliability standards.
This bill would require the commission, in an existing or a new proceeding, to direct every internet service provider, to file an annual emergency operations plan containing certain information with the commission.
Under existing law, a violation of the Public Utilities Act or any order, decision, rule, direction, demand, or requirement of the commission is a crime.
Because the provisions of this bill would be a part of the act and because a violation of an order, decision, rule, direction, demand, or requirement of the commission implementing its requirements would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) It is the policy of the state to ensure the continued affordability and widespread availability of high-quality telecommunications service to all Californians.
(b) Recent emergencies, including catastrophic wildfires, have highlighted the importance of ensuring access to reliable, affordable telecommunications service to protect Californians’ ability to make 911 calls and receive emergency notifications.
(c) As California seeks to expand access to broadband, maintaining access to basic phone service is necessary for the public safety of all Californians, especially those in low-income and vulnerable communities.

SEC. 2.

 Section 879.6 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

879.6.
 The commission shall evaluate the extent to which federal reductions in lifeline telephone service subsidies and the lack of access to reliable, affordable broadband-voice broadband service would result in rates limiting access to basic voice service. If the commission finds that federal reductions could result in the loss of basic voice services by increasing costs to California lifeline telephone service subscribers for those services, the commission shall adjust the state-level subsidies for these services in a manner that ensures both of the following:
(a) That California lifeline telephone service subscribers retain affordable access to basic voice services consistent with the rate requirements set forth by the commission pursuant to Section 874, regardless of the technology through which they obtain basic voice services.
(b) That any allocation of California lifeline telephone service program subsidies to offset reductions in federal subsidies not result in any incremental additional collection of universal service contributions. shall be made using existing resources to the extent possible. This subdivision does not limit the authority of the commission to modify funding for the lifeline program for any other purpose.

SEC. 3.

 Section 884.6 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

884.6.
 (a) As part of a new or existing proceeding, the commission shall direct every internet service provider, as defined in subdivision (k) of Section 3100 of the Civil Code, to file emergency operations plans with the commission on an annual basis. These plans shall include, but are not limited to, all of the following:
(1) Procedures the internet service provider will take to ensure reliable access to communications services in the event of a state or local emergency declared pursuant to the California Emergency Services Act (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 8550) of Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code), including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(A) Procedures for the acquisition and placement of backup electricity to ensure the reliable operation of critical communications infrastructure during a disaster or emergency leading to a loss of electricity for the electrical grid.
(B) Identification of any mobile communications resources possessed by the internet service provider capable of broadcasting wireless broadband and procedures for deploying those resources.
(C) Procedures for providing knowledgeable points of contact to state and local emergency operations offices to provide information on the status of critical communications infrastructure.
(2) Identification of an affordable class of broadband internet service, as defined by the commission, that the internet service provider shall offer as emergency relief within its service footprint for any individual displaced by a disaster or under guidance to stay at home during a state or local emergency.
(3) Other resources, including special rate plans, devices, or equipment the provider can deploy in response to a state or local emergency.
(4) Identification of capital expenditure plans for broadband expansion, including the number of households by census tract block to which the internet service provider intends to expand broadband within the 12 months between the annual reports required by this section and barriers to plans for broadband expansion.
(b) In evaluating the plans described in subdivision (a), the commission may request information from internet service providers and those providers shall report that information to the commission in a manner established by the commission. Misrepresentations of fact to the commission are punishable under the rules of practice and procedure adopted by the commission pursuant to Section 1701.
(c) The commission shall not may decline to provide an entitlement under Section 1001 or 5800 to an entity that is a corporate affiliate of an internet service provider that fails to comply with this section.
(d) In reviewing the compliance of an internet service provider with this section for the purpose of declining an entitlement pursuant to subdivision (c), the commission shall consider the state’s universal service goals and the provider’s service territory, deployable technologies, and deployment challenges.

SEC. 4.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.

SEC. 5.

 This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the California Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:
To ensure timely adoption of requirements providing access to critical communications resources necessary to obtain essential services, including public health services and information, without endangering public health and safety during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is necessary for this act to take effect immediately.