Today's Law As Amended


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AB-2130 Telecommunications: universal service: California Advanced Services Fund.(2015-2016)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.

 Section 281 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

281.
 (a) The commission shall develop, implement, and administer the California Advanced Services Fund program  to encourage deployment of high-quality advanced communications services to all Californians that will promote economic growth, job creation, and the substantial social benefits of advanced information and communications technologies, consistent with this section and with the statements of intent in Section 2 of the Internet for All Now Act (Chapter 851 of the Statutes of 2017). section. 
(b) (1) (A)  The goal of the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account  program  is, no later than December 31, 2032, 2015,  to approve funding for infrastructure projects that will provide broadband access to no less than 98 percent of California households in each consortia region, as identified by the commission. The commission shall be responsible for achieving the goals of the program. the state’s households. 
(B) For purposes of the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account, both of the following definitions apply:
(i) “Mbps” means megabits per second.
(ii) (I) Except as provided in subclause (II), “unserved area” means an area for which there is no facility-based broadband provider offering at least one tier of broadband service at speeds of at least 25 mbps downstream, 3 mbps upstream, and a latency that is sufficiently low to allow realtime interactive applications, considering updated federal and state broadband mapping data.
(II) For projects funded, in whole or in part, from moneys received from the federal Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, “unserved area” means an area in which no facility-based broadband provider offers broadband service at speeds consistent with the standards established by the Federal Communications Commission pursuant to In the Matter of Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, WC Docket No. 19-126, Report and Order, FCC 20-5 (adopted January 30, 2020, and released February 7, 2020), or as it may be later modified by the Federal Communications Commission.
(2) In approving infrastructure projects funded through the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account, the commission shall do both of the following:
(A) (2)  Approve  In approving infrastructure projects, the commission shall give priority to  projects that provide last-mile broadband access to households that are unserved by an existing facility-based broadband provider. facilities-based broadband provider. The commission shall provide each applicant, and any party challenging an application, the opportunity to demonstrate actual levels of broadband service in the project area, which the commission shall consider in reviewing the application. 
(B) (i) Prioritize projects in unserved areas where internet connectivity is available only at speeds at or below 10 mbps downstream and 1 mbps upstream or areas with no internet connectivity.
(ii) This subparagraph does not prohibit the commission from approving funding for projects outside of the areas specified in clause (i).
(3) Moneys appropriated for purposes of this section may be used to match or leverage federal moneys for communications infrastructure, digital equity, and adoption, including, but not limited to, moneys from the United States Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, the United States Department of Agriculture ReConnect Loan and Grant Program, and the Federal Communications Commission for communications infrastructure, digital equity, and adoption.
(4) The commission shall transition California Advanced Services Fund program methodologies to provide service to serviceable locations and evaluate other program changes to align with other funding sources, including, but not limited to, funding locations.
(5) The commission shall maximize investments in new, robust, and scalable infrastructure and use California Advanced Services Fund moneys to leverage federal and non-California Advanced Services Fund moneys by undertaking activities, including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(A) Providing technical assistance to local governments and providers.
(B) Assisting in developing grant applications.
(C) Assisting in preparing definitive plans for deploying necessary infrastructure in each county, including coordination across contiguous counties.
(6) Moneys appropriated for the purposes of this section may be used to fund projects that deploy broadband infrastructure to unserved nonresidential facilities used for local and state emergency response activities, including, but not limited to, fairgrounds.
(c) The commission shall establish the following accounts within the fund:
(1) The Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account.
(2) The Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortia Grant Account.
(3) The Broadband Public Housing  Infrastructure Revolving Loan  Account.
(4) The Broadband Adoption  Public Housing  Account.
(5) The Federal Funding  Broadband Build-Out Completion  Account.
(d) (1) All moneys collected by the surcharge authorized by the commission pursuant to Decision 07-12-054 shall be transmitted to the commission pursuant to a schedule established by the commission.  The commission shall transfer the moneys received by the commission from the surcharge the commission may impose pursuant to paragraph (4) to fund the accounts to the  to the  Controller for deposit into in  the California Advanced Services Fund. Moneys collected on and after January 1, 2011, shall be deposited in the following amounts in the following accounts: 
(A) One hundred ninety million dollars ($190,000,000) into the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account.
(B) Fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000) into the Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortia Grant Account.
(C) Ten million dollars ($10,000,000) into the Broadband Infrastructure Revolving Loan Account.
(2) All interest earned on moneys in the fund shall be deposited into in  the fund.
(3) The commission may make recommendations to the Legislature regarding appropriations from the California Advanced Services Fund and the accounts established pursuant to subdivision (c). shall not collect moneys, by imposing the surcharge described in paragraph (1) for deposit in the fund, in an amount that exceeds one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000) before January 1, 2011. On and after January 1, 2011, the commission may collect an additional sum not to exceed two hundred fifteen million dollars ($215,000,000), for a sum total of moneys collected by imposing the surcharge described in paragraph (1) not to exceed three hundred fifteen million dollars ($315,000,000). The commission may collect the additional sum beginning with the calendar year starting on January 1, 2011, and continuing through the 2020 calendar year, in an amount not to exceed twenty-five million dollars ($25,000,000) per year, unless the commission determines that collecting a higher amount in any year will not result in an increase in the total amount of all surcharges collected from telephone customers that year. 
(4) (e)  For the period described in Section 281.1, the  Notwithstanding subdivision (d), on or after January 1, 2017, the  commission may collect a  an additional  sum not to exceed one hundred fifty million dollars ($150,000,000) per  million dollars ($100,000,000), for deposit in the Broadband Build-Out Completion Account. The commission may collect the additional sum beginning with the calendar year 2017 and continuing through the 2020 calendar year, in an amount not to exceed twenty-five million dollars ($25,000,000) per year, unless the commission determines that collecting a higher amount in any year will not result in an increase in the total amount of all surcharges collected from telephone customers that  year.
(e) (f)  (1)  All moneys in the California Advanced Services Fund, including moneys in the accounts within the fund,  Fund  shall be available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to the commission for the California Advanced Services Fund  program administered by the commission pursuant to this section, including the costs incurred by the commission in developing, implementing, and administering the program and the fund.
(f) In administering the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account, the commission shall do all of the following:
(1) The commission shall award grants from the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account on a technology-neutral basis, taking into account the useful economic life of capital investments, and including both wireline and wireless technology.
(2) The commission shall consult with regional consortia, stakeholders, local governments, existing facility-based broadband providers, and consumers regarding unserved areas and cost-effective strategies to achieve the broadband access goal through public workshops conducted at least annually no later than April 30 of each year.
(3) The commission shall identify unserved rural and urban areas and delineate the areas in the annual report prepared pursuant to Section 914.7.
(4) An existing facility-based broadband provider may, but is not required to, apply for funding from the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account to make an upgrade pursuant to this subdivision.
(5) Projects eligible for grant awards shall deploy infrastructure capable of providing broadband access at speeds of a minimum of 100 mbps downstream and 20 mbps upstream, or the most current broadband definition speed standard set by the Federal Communications Commission from time to time, as determined appropriate by the commission, whichever broadband access speed is greater, to unserved areas or unserved households.
(6) (A) An individual household or property owner shall be eligible to apply for a grant to offset the costs of connecting the household or property to an existing or proposed facility-based broadband provider. Any infrastructure built to connect a household or property with funds provided under this paragraph shall become the property of, and part of, the network of the facility-based broadband provider to which it is connected.
(B) (2)  (i) Notwithstanding  In approving a project pursuant to this paragraph, the commission shall consider limiting funding to households based on income so that funds are provided only to households that would not otherwise be able to afford a line extension to the property, limiting the amount of grants on a per-household basis, and requiring a percentage of the project to be paid by the household or the owner of the property.  any other law and for the sole purpose of providing matching funds pursuant to the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5), any entity eligible for funding pursuant to that act shall be eligible to apply to participate in the program administered by the commission pursuant to this section, if that entity otherwise satisfies the eligibility requirements under that program. Nothing in this section shall impede the ability of an incumbent local exchange carrier, as defined by subsection (h) of Section 251 of Title 47 of the United States Code, that is regulated under a rate of return regulatory structure, to recover, in rate base, California infrastructure investment not provided through federal or state grant funds for facilities that provide broadband service and California intrastate voice service. 
(ii) The aggregate amount of grants awarded pursuant to this paragraph shall not exceed five million dollars ($5,000,000).
(7) (3)  An entity that is not a telephone corporation shall be eligible to apply to participate in the program administered by the commission pursuant to this section to provide access to broadband to an unserved area  or underserved household, as defined in commission Decision 12-02-015,  if the entity otherwise meets the eligibility requirements and complies with program requirements established by the commission. These requirements shall include all of the following: 
(A) That projects under this paragraph provide last-mile broadband access to households that are unserved by an existing facilities-based broadband provider and only receive funding to provide broadband access to households that are unserved or underserved, as defined in commission Decision 12-02-015.
(B) That funding for a project providing broadband access to an underserved household shall not be approved until after any existing facilities-based provider has an opportunity to demonstrate to the commission that it will, within a reasonable timeframe, upgrade existing service. An existing facilities-based provider may, but is not required to, apply for funding under this section to make that upgrade.
(8) (C)  The  That the  commission shall provide each applicant, and any party challenging an application, the opportunity to demonstrate actual levels of broadband service in the project area, which the commission shall consider in reviewing the application.
(D) That a local governmental agency may be eligible for an infrastructure grant only if the infrastructure project is for an unserved household or business, the commission has conducted an open application process, and no other eligible entity applied.
(9) (E)  The  That the  commission shall establish a service list of interested parties to be notified of any  California Advanced Services Fund applications. Any application and any amendment to an application for project funding shall be served to those on the service list and posted on the commission’s internet website at least 30 days before publishing the corresponding draft resolution. 
(10) A grant awarded pursuant to this subdivision may include funding for the following costs consistent with paragraph (5):
(A) Costs directly related to the deployment of infrastructure.
(B) Costs to lease access to property or for internet backhaul services for a period not to exceed five years.
(C) Costs incurred by an existing facility-based broadband provider to upgrade its existing facilities to provide for interconnection.
(11) The commission may award grants to fund all or a portion of the project. The commission shall determine, on a case-by-case basis, the level of funding to be provided for a project and shall consider factors that include, but are not limited to, the location and accessibility of the area, the existence of communication facilities that may be upgraded to deploy broadband, and whether the project makes a significant contribution to achievement of the program goal.
(g) (1)  Moneys in the Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortia Grant Account shall be available for grants to eligible consortia to facilitate deployment of broadband services by assisting infrastructure applicants in the project development or grant application process.  fund the cost of broadband deployment activities other than the capital cost of facilities, as specified by the commission.  An eligible consortium may include, as specified by the commission, representatives of organizations, including, but not limited to, local and regional government, public safety, elementary and secondary education, health care, libraries, postsecondary education, community-based organizations, tourism, parks and recreation, agricultural, business, workforce organizations, and air pollution control or air quality management districts,  and business,  and is not required to have as its lead fiscal agent an entity with a certificate of public convenience and necessity.
(2) Each consortium shall conduct an annual audit of its expenditures for programs funded pursuant to this subdivision and shall submit to the commission an annual report that includes both of the following:
(A) A description of activities completed during the prior year, how each activity promotes the deployment of broadband services, and the cost associated with each activity.
(B) The number of project applications assisted.
(h) (1) Moneys  All remaining moneys    in the Broadband Infrastructure Revolving Loan Account that are unencumbered as of January 1, 2018, shall be transferred into  shall be available to finance capital costs of broadband facilities not funded by a grant from  the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account. The commission shall periodically set interest rates on the loans based on surveys of existing financial markets. 
(2) All repayments of loans funded by the former Broadband Infrastructure Revolving Loan Account shall be deposited into the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account.
(i) (1) For purposes of this subdivision, “low-income community” includes, but is not limited to, publicly supported housing developments, and other housing developments or mobilehome parks with low-income residents, as determined by the commission. the following terms have the following meanings: 
(A) “Publicly subsidized” means either that the housing development receives financial assistance from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development pursuant to an annual contribution contract or is financed with low-income housing tax credits, tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds, general obligation bonds, or local, state, or federal loans or grants and the rents of the occupants, who are lower income households, do not exceed those prescribed by deed restrictions or regulatory agreements pursuant to the terms of the financing or financial assistance.
(B) “Publicly supported community” means a publicly subsidized multifamily housing development that is wholly owned by either of the following:
(i) A public housing agency that has been chartered by the state, or by any city or county in the state, and has been determined to be an eligible public housing agency by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
(ii) An incorporated nonprofit organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. Sec. 501(c)(3)) that is exempt from taxation under Section 501(a) of that code (16 U.S.C. Sec. 501(a)), and that has received public funding to subsidize the construction or maintenance of housing occupied by residents whose annual income qualifies as “low” or “very low” income according to federal poverty guidelines.
(2) Moneys in the Broadband Public Housing Account shall be available for the commission to award grants and loans pursuant to this subdivision to a low-income community that  an eligible publicly supported community if that entity  otherwise meets eligibility requirements and complies with program requirements established by the commission.
(3) Not more than twenty million dollars ($20,000,000) shall be available for grants and loans to a publicly supported community to finance a project to connect a broadband network to that publicly supported community. A publicly supported community may be an eligible applicant only if the publicly supported community can verify to the commission that the publicly supported community has not denied a right of access to any broadband provider that is willing to connect a broadband network to the facility for which the grant or loan is sought.
(3) (4)  Moneys (A)   deposited into the Broadband Public Housing Account  Not more than five million dollars ($5,000,000)  shall be available for grants and loans to low-income communities to finance projects to connect broadband networks that offer free broadband service that meets or exceeds state standards, as determined by the commission,  a publicly supported community to support programs designed to increase adoption rates for broadband services  for residents of the low-income communities. A low-income  that publicly supported community. A publicly supported  community may be an eligible applicant if the low-income community does not  eligible for funding for a broadband adoption program only if the residential units in the facility to be served  have access to any broadband service provider that offers free broadband service that meets or exceeds state standards, as determined by the commission, for the residents of the low-income community. broadband services or will have access to broadband services at the time the funding for adoption is implemented. 
(B) A publicly supported community may contract with other nonprofit or public agencies to assist in implementation of a broadband adoption program.
(4) (5)  To the extent feasible, the commission shall approve projects for funding from the Broadband Public Housing Account in a manner that reflects the statewide distribution of low-income  publicly supported  communities.
(5) (6)  In reviewing a project application under this subdivision, the commission shall consider the availability of other funding sources for that project, any financial contribution from the broadband service provider to the project, the availability of any other public or private broadband adoption or deployment program, including tax credits and other incentives, and whether the applicant has sought funding from, or participated in, any reasonably available program. The commission may require an applicant to provide match funding, and shall not deny funding for a project solely because the applicant is receiving funding from another source.
(7) (A) To provide funding for the purposes of this subdivision, the commission shall transfer to the Broadband Public Housing Account twenty million dollars ($20,000,000) from the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account and five million dollars ($5,000,000) from the Broadband Revolving Loan Account. Any moneys in the Broadband Public Housing Account that have not been awarded pursuant to this subdivision by December 31, 2016, shall be transferred back to the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account and Broadband Infrastructure Revolving Loan Account in proportion to the amount transferred from the respective accounts.
(B) The commission shall transfer funds pursuant to subparagraph (A) only if the commission is otherwise authorized to collect funds for purposes of this section in excess of the total amount authorized pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (d).
(j) (1) Moneys in the Broadband Adoption  Build-Out Completion  Account shall be available to the commission to award grants to increase publicly available or after school broadband access and digital inclusion, such as grants for digital literacy training programs and public education to communities with limited broadband adoption, including low-income communities, senior communities, and communities facing socioeconomic barriers to broadband adoption. disbursed pursuant to a multiple-round, fair and open competitive bidding process for infrastructure projects to provide broadband access to unserved areas of California. The bidding process shall include all of the following: 
(2) Eligible applicants are local governments, senior centers, schools, public libraries, nonprofit organizations, and community-based organizations with programs to increase publicly available or after school broadband access and digital inclusion, such as digital literacy training programs.
(3) Payment pursuant to a grant for digital inclusion shall be based on digital inclusion metrics established by the commission that may include the number of residents trained, the number of residents served, or the actual verification of broadband subscriptions resulting from the program funded by the grant.
(4) The commission shall give preference to programs in communities with demonstrated low broadband access, including low-income communities, senior communities, and communities facing socioeconomic barriers to broadband adoption. The commission shall determine how best to prioritize projects for funding pursuant to this paragraph.
(5) Moneys awarded pursuant to this subdivision shall not be used to subsidize the costs of providing broadband service to households.
(k) The commission shall post on the home page of the California Advanced Services Fund on its internet website a list of all pending applications, application challenge deadlines, and notices of amendments to pending applications.
(l) (1) The commission shall require each entity that receives funding or financing for a project pursuant to this section to report monthly to the commission, at minimum, all of the following information:
(A) The name and contractor’s license number of each licensed contractor and subcontractor undertaking a contract or subcontract in excess of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) to perform work on a project funded or financed pursuant to this section.
(B) The location where a contractor or subcontractor described in subparagraph (A) will be performing that work.
(C) The anticipated dates when that work will be performed.
(2) The commission shall, on a monthly basis, post the information reported pursuant to this subdivision on the commission’s California Advanced Services Fund internet website.
(m) The commission shall notify the appropriate policy committees of the Legislature on the date on which the goal specified in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) is achieved.
(n) (1) Upon the deposit of state or federal infrastructure moneys into the Federal Funding Account, the commission shall implement a program using those moneys to expeditiously connect unserved and underserved communities by applicable federal deadlines.
(2) (A)  Projects funded pursuant to this subdivision shall be implemented consistent with Part 35 of Title 31 Criteria for determining eligible areas for Broadband Build-Out Completion Account funding by utilizing available information as to those areas that are unserved and that are not eligible for funding pursuant to Phase II of the Connect America Fund, because of the limitations in Section 54.310 of Title 47  of the Code of Federal Regulations and any conditions or guidelines applicable to these one-time federal infrastructure moneys. Regulations, or similar programs distributing federal Connect America Fund support. 
(3) (B)  Of the two billion dollars ($2,000,000,000) appropriated to the commission to fund last-mile broadband infrastructure in the Budget Act of 2021, the commission shall allocate those moneys to applicants for the construction of last-mile broadband infrastructure as follows: Publicizing and making publicly available material program requirements in advance of the deadline for bid submission, including terms for the service commitments described in paragraph (2). Program requirements shall be technologically neutral. 
(A) (C)  The commission shall initially allocate one billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) for last-mile broadband projects in urban counties as follows: Establishing a reserve price for each eligible area after considering the model used for the distribution of Phase II of the Connect America Fund or similar programs for distributing federal Connect America Fund support. 
(i) (D)  The commission shall first allocate five million dollars ($5,000,000) for last-mile broadband projects in each urban county. Awarding funds with the objective of serving the maximum number of unserved households. Bidders shall be allowed to determine the amount of capital and operating expenses to include in the bid and shall not be required to share this information with the commission. 
(ii) (2)  The commission shall allocate the remaining moneys based on each urban county’s proportionate share of the California households without access to broadband internet access service with at least 100 Recipients of Broadband Build-Out Completion Account support shall offer access to the Internet at speeds of at least 10  megabits per second download speeds, as identified and validated by the commission pursuant to the most recent broadband data collection, as of July 1, 2021, as ordered in commission Decision 16-12-025 (December 1, 2016), Decision Analyzing the California Telecommunications Market and Directing Staff to Continue Data Gathering, Monitoring and Reporting on the Market. (Mbps) downstream and 1 Mbps upstream and shall offer a voice service that meets all of the following requirements for the term specified by the commission: 
(A) It provides voice grade access to the public switched telephone network or its replacement voice communications network.
(B) The commission shall allocate at least one billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) for last-mile broadband projects in rural counties as follows: It enables real time, two-way voice communications. 
(i) (C)  The commission shall first allocate five million dollars ($5,000,000) for last-mile broadband projects in each rural county. It provides the ability to call and connect to the local emergency telephone systems described in the Warren-911-Emergency Assistance Act (Article 6 (commencing with Section 53100) of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of the Government Code). 
(ii) (3)  The commission shall allocate the remaining moneys based on each rural county’s proportionate share of the California households without broadband internet access service with at least 100 megabits per second download speeds, as identified and validated by the commission pursuant to the most recent broadband data collection, as of July 1, 2021, as ordered in commission Decision 16-12-025 (December 1, 2016), Decision Analyzing the California Telecommunications Market and Directing Staff to Continue Data Gathering, Monitoring and Reporting on the Market. conduct a fair and open competitive bidding process and shall award funds from the Broadband Build-Out Completion Account no later than January 1, 2020. 
(4) Until June 30, 2023, applicants may apply for and encumber moneys allocated pursuant to this subdivision for last-mile broadband projects. Any moneys allocated pursuant to this subdivision that are not encumbered on or before June 30, 2023, shall be made available to the commission to allocate for the construction of last-mile broadband infrastructure anywhere in the state. If funds remain in the Broadband Build-Out Completion Account after the first award of funds, the commission shall promptly conduct additional competitive bidding rounds to distribute the balance of available funds in the account. 
SEC. 2.
 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.