Code Section Group

Public Utilities Code - PUC

DIVISION 1. REGULATION OF PUBLIC UTILITIES [201 - 3297]

  ( Division 1 enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764. )

PART 1. PUBLIC UTILITIES ACT [201 - 2120]

  ( Part 1 enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764. )

CHAPTER 1.5. Advisory Boards [270 - 285]
  ( Chapter 1.5 added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 677, Sec. 2. )

270.
  

(a) The following funds are hereby created in the State Treasury:

(1) The California High-Cost Fund-A Administrative Committee Fund.

(2) The California High-Cost Fund-B Administrative Committee Fund.

(3) The Universal Lifeline Telephone Service Trust Administrative Committee Fund.

(4) The Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program Administrative Committee Fund.

(5) The California Teleconnect Fund Administrative Committee Fund.

(6) The California Advanced Services Fund.

(b) Moneys in the funds are held in trust and may only be expended pursuant to this chapter and upon appropriation in the annual Budget Act or upon supplemental appropriation.

(c) The commission, in administering the universal service program funds listed in subdivision (a), and in administering state participation in federal universal service programs, is encouraged, consistent with the state’s universal service policies and goals, to maximize the amount of federal funding to California participants in the federal programs.

(d) Moneys in each fund shall not be appropriated, or in any other manner transferred or otherwise diverted, to any other fund or entity, except as provided in Sections 19325 and 19325.1 of the Education Code.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 213, Sec. 1. (SB 1055) Effective January 1, 2017.)

270.1.
  

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the commission may authorize the trustee of the California High-Cost Fund-B Trust to transfer to the Deaf Equipment Acquisition Fund Trust (DEAF Trust) money sufficient to cover the costs of the programs as specified in subdivision (a) of Section 278, including, but not limited to, all costs specified in subdivision (c) of Section 278. The amount of any transfer of money authorized may not exceed the cost of operating the programs for six months. The commission shall also establish other terms of the transfer, as it determines to be appropriate.

(b) The commission shall reimburse the California High-Cost Fund-B Trust for any transfer of money to the DEAF Trust authorized pursuant to subdivision (a), with interest as determined by the commission.

(c) A sum equivalent to the amount of money transferred to the Deaf Equipment Acquisition Fund Trust (DEAF Trust) pursuant to subdivision (a) is hereby appropriated from the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program Administrative Committee Fund to the commission, for allocation to the California High-Cost Fund-B Trust, for purposes of subdivision (b).

(d) Funds may not be transferred from the California High-Cost Fund-B Trust to the DEAF Trust pursuant to subdivision (a) after September 30, 2001.

(e) Commencing on October 1, 2001, and until a date not later than June 30, 2002, reimbursements made to the California High-Cost Fund-B Trust pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (c) shall be deposited in a separate memorandum account within the DEAF Trust, subject to the terms specified in subdivision (b).

(f) On July 1, 2002, any funds in the DEAF Trust deposited in the memorandum account for purposes of reimbursing the California High-Cost Fund-B Trust shall revert to the Controller for deposit in the California High-Cost Fund-B Trust Committee Fund in the State Treasury rather than the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program Administrative Committee Fund.

(g) Commencing on July 1, 2003, any funds remaining in the DEAF Trust, exclusive of those identified in subdivision (f), shall revert to the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program Administrative Committee Fund in the State Treasury.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 61, Sec. 1. Effective June 21, 2002.)

271.
  

For each advisory board created pursuant to this chapter all of the following are applicable:

(a) The commission shall establish the number of, and qualifications for, persons to serve as members of each board, and shall appoint the members of each board. In determining the qualifications of persons who will serve as members of each board, the commission shall consider the purpose of the program, and shall attempt to achieve balanced public participation, for each board. The membership of each board shall reflect, to the extent possible, and consistent with existing law, the ethnic and gender diversity of the state.

(b) Each board shall determine, subject to approval by the commission, the time, location, and number of monthly meetings for each board.

(c) A majority of the number of members of each board constitutes a quorum.

(d) A board cannot act at a meeting without the presence of a quorum.

(e) The affirmative vote of a majority of those members present at the meeting of a board is necessary in order to pass any motion, resolution, or measure.

(f) The commission shall determine for each board whether the board members shall receive expense reimbursement pursuant to Section 19820 of the Government Code and a per diem allowance, as specified in Section 11564.5 of the Government Code, or as established by the commission. Each member of a board who is not a commission or public utility employee, or who is not otherwise compensated by an employer for service on the board, shall be entitled to make a claim for and to receive a per diem allowance, if authorized by the commission. Each member of a board who is not a public utility employee, or who is not otherwise reimbursed by an employer for expenses incurred when serving on the board, shall be entitled to make a claim for and to receive expense reimbursement, if authorized by the commission. The commission shall allow all reasonable expense and per diem claims. The payments in each instance shall be made only from the fund that supports the activities of the board and shall be subject to the availability of money in that fund. The claims shall be filed by the board with the commission.

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 677, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2000.)

273.
  

Each advisory board created pursuant to this chapter shall do both of the following:

(a) Submit an annual budget to the commission. Within 90 calendar days after receiving a board’s annual budget, the commission shall either accept, accept with conditions, or reject the submitted budget.

(b) Notwithstanding Section 7550.5 of the Government Code, submit, in accordance with procedures established by the commission, a report that shall describe the activities of the board during the prior reporting period. The report shall be submitted on an annual or more frequent basis, as ordered by the commission.

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 677, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2000.)

274.
  

The commission may on its own order, whenever it determines it to be necessary, conduct financial audits of the revenues required to be collected and submitted to the commission for each of the funds specified in Section 270. The commission may on its own order, whenever it determines it to be necessary, conduct compliance audits on the compliance with commission orders with regard to each program subject to this chapter. The commission shall conduct a financial and compliance audit of program-related costs and activities at least once every three years. The first three-year period for a financial and compliance audit commences on July 1, 2002. The second and subsequent three-year periods for financial audits commence three years after the completion of the prior financial audit. The second and subsequent three-year periods for compliance audits commence three years after the completion of the prior compliance audit. The commission may contract with the California State Auditor’s Office or the Department of Finance for all necessary auditing services. All costs for audits shall be paid from the fund that supports the activities of the board audited and shall be subject to the availability of money in that fund.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 86, Sec. 262. (SB 1171) Effective January 1, 2017.)

275.
  

(a) There is hereby created the California High-Cost Fund-A Administrative Committee, which is an advisory board to advise the commission regarding the development, implementation, and administration of a program to provide for transfer payments to small independent telephone corporations providing local exchange services in high-cost rural and small metropolitan areas in the state to create fair and equitable local rate structures, as provided for in Section 275.6, and to carry out the program pursuant to the commission’s direction, control, and approval.

(b) All revenues collected through surcharges authorized by the commission to fund the program specified in subdivision (a) shall be submitted to the commission pursuant to a schedule established by the commission. The commission shall transfer the moneys received to the Controller for deposit in the California High-Cost Fund-A Administrative Committee Fund. All interest earned by moneys in the fund shall be deposited in the fund.

(c) Moneys appropriated from the California High-Cost Fund-A Administrative Committee Fund to the commission shall be utilized exclusively by the commission for the program specified in subdivision (a), including all costs of the board and the commission associated with the administration and oversight of the program and the fund.

(d) The Legislature finds and declares that, because maintenance of universal public switched telephone network service throughout the state and maintenance of public safety answering points in high-cost areas of the state rely on appropriations from the California High-Cost Fund-A Administrative Committee Fund, maintaining adequate funding levels for the fund is critical to public health and safety.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 520, Sec. 3. (SB 1364) Effective September 20, 2014.)

275.6.
  

(a) The commission shall exercise its regulatory authority to maintain the California High-Cost Fund-A Administrative Committee Fund program (CHCF-A program) to provide universal service rate support to small independent telephone corporations in amounts sufficient to meet the revenue requirements established by the commission through rate-of-return regulation in furtherance of the state’s universal service commitment to the continued affordability and widespread availability of safe, reliable, high-quality communications services in rural areas of the state.

(b) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1) “Carrier of last resort” means a telephone corporation that is required to fulfill all reasonable requests for service within its service territory.

(2) “Rate base” means the value of a telephone corporation’s plant and equipment that is reasonably necessary to provide regulated voice services and access to advanced services, and upon which the telephone corporation is entitled to a fair opportunity to earn a reasonable rate of return.

(3) “Rate design” means the mix of end user rates, high-cost support, and other revenue sources that are targeted to provide a fair opportunity to meet the revenue requirement of the telephone corporation.

(4) “Rate-of-return regulation” means a regulatory structure whereby the commission establishes a telephone corporation’s revenue requirements, and then fashions a rate design to provide the company a fair opportunity to meet the revenue requirement.

(5) “Revenue requirement” means the amount that is necessary for a telephone corporation to recover its reasonable expenses and tax liabilities and earn a reasonable rate of return on its rate base.

(6) “Small independent telephone corporations” are rural incumbent local exchange carriers subject to commission regulation.

(c) In administering the CHCF-A program the commission shall do all of the following:

(1) Continue to set rates to be charged by the small independent telephone corporations in accordance with Sections 451, 454, 455, and 728.

(2) Employ rate-of-return regulation to determine a small independent telephone corporation’s revenue requirement in a manner that provides revenues and earnings sufficient to allow the telephone corporation to deliver safe, reliable, high-quality voice communication service and fulfill its obligations as a carrier of last resort in its service territory, and to afford the telephone corporation a fair opportunity to earn a reasonable return on its investments, attract capital for investment on reasonable terms, and ensure the financial integrity of the telephone corporation.

(3) Ensure that rates charged to customers of small independent telephone corporations are just and reasonable and are reasonably comparable to rates charged to customers of urban telephone corporations.

(4) Provide universal service rate support from the California High-Cost Fund-A Administrative Committee Fund to small independent telephone corporations in an amount sufficient to supply the portion of the revenue requirement that cannot reasonably be provided by the customers of each small independent telephone corporation after receipt of federal universal service rate support.

(5) Promote customer access to advanced services and deployment of broadband-capable facilities in rural areas that is reasonably comparable to that in urban areas, consistent with national communications policy.

(6) Include all reasonable investments necessary to provide for the delivery of high-quality voice communication services and the deployment of broadband-capable facilities in the rate base of small independent telephone corporations.

(7) Ensure that support is not excessive so that the burden on all contributors to the CHCF-A program is limited.

(d) In order to participate in the CHCF-A program, a small independent telephone corporation shall meet all of the following requirements:

(1) Be subject to rate-of-return regulation.

(2) Be subject to the commission’s regulation of telephone corporations pursuant to this division.

(3) Be a carrier of last resort in their service territory.

(4) Qualify as a rural telephone company under federal law (47 U.S.C. Sec. 153(44)).

(e) Upon request from the commission, a small independent telephone corporation that receives support from the CHCF-A program shall provide information regarding revenues derived from the provision of unregulated Internet access service by that corporation or its affiliate within that corporation’s telephone service territory. The commission shall treat as confidential any information provided pursuant to this subdivision.

(f) The commission shall structure the CHCF-A program so that any charge imposed to promote the goals of universal service reasonably equals the value of the benefits of universal service to contributing entities and their subscribers.

(g) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2023, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2023, deletes or extends that date.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 256, Sec. 1. (AB 1959) Effective September 5, 2018. Repealed as of January 1, 2023, by its own provisions.)

276.
  

(a) There is hereby created the California High-Cost Fund-B Administrative Committee, which is an advisory board to advise the commission regarding the development, implementation, and administration of a program to provide for transfer payments to telephone corporations providing local exchange services in high-cost areas in the state to create fair and equitable local rate structures, as provided for in Section 276.5, and to carry out the program pursuant to the commission’s direction, control, and approval.

(b) All revenues collected through surcharges authorized by the commission to fund the program specified in subdivision (a) shall be submitted to the commission pursuant to a schedule established by the commission. The commission shall transfer the moneys received to the Controller for deposit in the California High-Cost Fund-B Administrative Committee Fund. All interest earned by moneys in the fund shall be deposited in the fund.

(c) Moneys appropriated from the California High-Cost Fund-B Administrative Committee Fund to the commission shall be utilized exclusively by the commission for the program specified in subdivision (a), including all costs of the board and the commission associated with the administration and oversight of the program and the fund.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 520, Sec. 5. (SB 1364) Effective September 20, 2014.)

276.5.
  

(a) The commission shall develop, implement, and maintain a suitable, competitively neutral, and broad-based program to establish a fair and equitable local rate support structure aided by universal service rate support to telephone corporations serving areas where the cost of providing services exceeds rates charged by providers, as determined by the commission. The program shall be known, and may be cited, as the California High-Cost Fund-B Administrative Committee Fund program or CHCF-B program. The purpose of the program shall be to promote the goals of universal telephone service and to reduce any disparity in the rates charged by those companies. Except as otherwise explicitly provided, this subdivision does not limit the manner in which the commission collects and disburses funds, and does not limit the manner in which it may include or exclude the revenue of contributing entities in structuring the program.

(b) The commission shall structure the CHCF-B program so that any charge imposed to promote the goals of universal service reasonably equals the value of the benefits of universal service to contributing entities and their subscribers.

(c) The commission shall investigate reducing the level of universal service rate support, or elimination of universal service rate support in service areas with demonstrated competition.

(d) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2023, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2023, deletes or extends that date.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 256, Sec. 2. (AB 1959) Effective September 5, 2018. Repealed as of January 1, 2023, by its own provisions.)

277.
  

(a) There is hereby created the Universal Lifeline Telephone Service Trust Administrative Committee, which is an advisory board to advise the commission regarding the development, implementation, and administration of a program to ensure lifeline telephone service is available to the people of the state, as provided for in Article 8 (commencing with Section 871) of Chapter 4 of Part 1 of Division 1, and to carry out the program pursuant to the commission’s direction, control, and approval.

(b) All revenues collected by telephone corporations in rates authorized by the commission to fund the program specified in subdivision (a) shall be submitted to the commission pursuant to a schedule established by the commission. Commencing on October 1, 2001, and continuing thereafter, the commission shall transfer the moneys received, and all unexpended revenues collected prior to October 1, 2001, to the Controller for deposit in the Universal Lifeline Telephone Service Trust Administrative Committee Fund. All interest earned by moneys in the fund shall be deposited in the fund.

(c) Moneys appropriated from the Universal Lifeline Telephone Service Trust Administrative Committee Fund to the commission shall be utilized exclusively by the commission for the program specified in subdivision (a), including all costs of the board and the commission associated with the administration and oversight of the program and the fund.

(Amended by Stats. 2001, Ch. 118, Sec. 21. Effective July 30, 2001.)

278.
  

(a) (1) Commencing on July 1, 2003, there is hereby created the Telecommunications Access for Deaf and Disabled Administrative Committee, formerly the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program Administrative Committee, as an advisory board to advise the commission regarding the development, implementation, and administration of programs to provide specified telecommunications services and equipment to persons in this state who are deaf or disabled, as provided for in Sections 2881, 2881.1, and 2881.2.

(2) In addition to the membership qualifications established by the commission pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 271, the commission shall establish qualifications for persons to serve as members of the Telecommunications Access for Deaf and Disabled Administrative Committee so that consumers of telecommunications services for the deaf and disabled comprise not less than two-thirds of the membership of the committee. To the extent feasible, one of those members shall have experience in the administration of programs similar to those provided for in Sections 2881, 2881.1, and 2881.2.

(3) As part of its advisory role, as specified in paragraph (1), the Telecommunications Access for Deaf and Disabled Administrative Committee shall advise the commission regarding contracts and agreements related to the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program as specified in subdivisions (d) and (e) of Section 2881.4.

(b) All revenues collected by telephone corporations in rates authorized by the commission to fund the programs specified in subdivision (a) shall be submitted to the commission pursuant to a schedule established by the commission. Commencing on July 1, 2003, and continuing thereafter, the commission shall transfer the moneys received, and all unexpended revenue collected prior to July 1, 2003, to the Controller for deposit in the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program Administrative Committee Fund. All interest earned by moneys in the fund shall be deposited in the fund. Those revenues that are collected pursuant to subdivision (g) of Section 2881 shall be accounted for separately, as required by subdivision (b) of Section 2881.2, and deposited in the fund created by the commission pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 2881.2.

(c) Moneys appropriated from the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program Administrative Committee Fund to the commission shall be utilized exclusively by the commission for the programs specified in subdivision (a), including all costs of the committee and the commission associated with the administration and oversight of the programs and the fund.

(d) Commencing on July 1, 2003, staffing costs incurred by the commission for oversight and administration of the programs described in subdivision (a) shall be funded by moneys appropriated from the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program Administrative Committee Fund.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 162, Sec. 153. (SB 1171) Effective January 1, 2013.)

280.
  

(a) The commission shall develop, implement, and administer a program to advance universal service by providing discounted rates to qualifying schools maintaining kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, community colleges, libraries, hospitals, health clinics, and community organizations, consistent with Chapter 278 of the Statutes of 1994.

(b) There is hereby created the California Teleconnect Fund Administrative Committee, which is an advisory board to advise the commission regarding the development, implementation, and administration of a program to advance universal service by providing discounted rates to qualifying schools maintaining kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, community colleges, libraries, hospitals, health clinics, and community organizations, consistent with Chapter 278 of the Statutes of 1994, and to carry out the program pursuant to the commission’s direction, control, and approval.

(c) All revenues collected by telephone corporations in rates authorized by the commission to fund the program specified in subdivision (a) shall be submitted to the commission pursuant to a schedule established by the commission. The commission shall transfer the moneys received to the Controller for deposit in the California Teleconnect Fund Administrative Committee Fund. All interest earned by moneys in the fund shall be deposited in the fund.

(d) Except as provided in subdivisions (e) and (g), moneys appropriated from the California Teleconnect Fund Administrative Committee Fund to the commission shall be utilized exclusively by the commission for the program specified in subdivision (a), including all costs of the board and the commission associated with the administration and oversight of the program and the fund.

(e) Moneys loaned from the California Teleconnect Fund Administrative Committee Fund in the Budget Act of 2003 are subject to Section 16320 of the Government Code. If the commission determines a need for moneys in the California Teleconnect Fund Administrative Committee Fund, the commission shall notify the Director of Finance of the need, as specified in Section 16320 of the Government Code. The commission may not increase the rates authorized by the commission to fund the program specified in subdivision (b) while moneys loaned from the California Teleconnect Fund Administrative Committee Fund in the Budget Act of 2003 are outstanding unless both of the following conditions are satisfied:

(1) The Director of Finance, after making a determination pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 16320 of the Government Code, does not order repayment of all or a portion of any loan from the California Teleconnect Fund Administrative Committee Fund within 30 days of notification by the commission of the need for the moneys.

(2) The commission notifies the Director of Finance and the Chairperson of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee in writing that it intends to increase the rates authorized by the commission to fund the program specified in subdivision (a). The notification required pursuant to this paragraph shall be made 30 days in advance of the intended rate increase.

(f) Subdivision (e) shall become inoperative upon full repayment or discharge of all moneys loaned from the California Teleconnect Fund Administrative Committee Fund in the Budget Act of 2003.

(g) (1) Consistent with Decision 11-09-016 (September 8, 2011) Decision Granting Authority to Provide Emergency Access to 211 Services in Counties and Localities Without Existing 211 Centers and to Appoint a 211 Lead Entity, if it determines that doing so is an appropriate use of funds collected from ratepayers, the commission may expend up to one million five hundred thousand dollars ($1,500,000) from the California Teleconnect Fund Administrative Committee Fund for one-time costs to help close 2-1-1 service gaps in counties lacking access to disaster preparedness, response, and recovery information and referral services, where technically feasible, through available 2-1-1 service. As the lead agency appointed by the commission in Decision 11-09-016, 2-1-1 California may apply to the commission for use of the funds in the counties that lack 2-1-1 service. If the commission determines that doing so is an appropriate use of funds collected from ratepayers, these costs may include local implementation of a coordinated database that is owned by a city or county to provide referrals to help with nonemergency aspects of disaster planning, recovery, and response.

(2) This subdivision shall become inoperative on January 1, 2023.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 841, Sec. 2. (SB 1212) Effective January 1, 2017.)

280.5.
  

(a) Of the revenues from fees collected pursuant to Section 14666.8 of the Government Code after the operative date of this section, except for revenues from fees from a lease agreement for access to Department of Transportation property or a lease agreement existing prior to the operative date of the section, 15 percent shall be available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, for the purpose of addressing the state’s digital divide.

(b) Revenues described in subdivision (a) shall be deposited in the Digital Divide Account, which is hereby established in the California Teleconnect Fund Administrative Committee Fund established pursuant to Section 270, to be used only for digital divide pilot projects. Not more than 5 percent of the revenues described in subdivision (a) may be used to pay the costs incurred in connection with the administration of digital divide pilot projects by the commission.

(c) (1) The Digital Divide Grant Program is hereby established subject to the availability of funding pursuant to this section. The commission may not implement the grant program until the commission projects that at least five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) will be available in the Digital Divide Account during the calendar year following implementation, based on money collected pursuant to Section 14666.8 of the Government Code.

(2) The commission shall provide grants pursuant to this subdivision on a competitive basis subject to criteria to be established by the commission and in a way that disburses the funds widely, including urban and rural areas. Grants shall be awarded to community-based nonprofit organizations that are exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code for the purpose of funding community technology programs.

(3) Recipients of grants pursuant to this subdivision shall report to the commission annually on the effectiveness of the grant program.

(d) For purposes of this section, “community technology programs” means a program that is engaged in diffusing technology in local communities and training local communities in the use of technology, especially local communities that otherwise would have no access or limited access to the Internet and other technologies.

(e) For purposes of this section, “digital divide projects” means community technology programs involved in activities that include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Providing open access to and opportunities for training in technology.

(2) Developing content relevant to the interests and wants of the local community.

(3) Preparing youth for opportunities in the new economy through multimedia training and skills.

(4) Harnessing technology for e-government services.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 612, Sec. 2. (SB 697) Effective January 1, 2016.)

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 (Assembly Bill 1665 of the 2017–18 Regular Session).

(b) (1) (A) The goal of the program is, no later than December 31, 2022, 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 on or before January 1, 2017. The commission shall be responsible for achieving the goals of the program.

(B) For purposes of this section, “unserved household” means a household for which no facility-based broadband provider offers broadband service at speeds of at least 6 megabits per second (mbps) downstream and one mbps upstream.

(2) In approving infrastructure projects, the commission shall do both of the following:

(A) Approve projects that provide last-mile broadband access to households that are unserved by an existing facility-based broadband provider, and, upon accomplishment of the goal of the program specified in paragraph (1), also approve projects pursuant to paragraph (15) of subdivision (f).

(B) (i) Give preference to projects in areas where Internet connectivity is available only through dial-up service that are not served by any form of wireline or wireless facility-based broadband service 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).

(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 Account.

(4) The Broadband Adoption Account.

(d) (1) The commission shall transfer the moneys received by the commission from the surcharge imposed to fund the accounts to the Controller for deposit in the California Advanced Services Fund. Moneys collected shall be deposited in the following amounts in the following accounts:

(A) Three hundred million dollars ($300,000,000) into the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account.

(B) Ten million dollars ($10,000,000) into the Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortia Grant Account.

(C) Twenty million dollars ($20,000,000) into the Broadband Adoption Account.

(2) All interest earned on moneys in the fund shall be deposited in the fund.

(3) The commission may collect a sum not to exceed three hundred thirty million dollars ($330,000,000) for a sum total of moneys collected by imposing the surcharge described in paragraph (1). The commission may collect the sum beginning with the calendar year starting on January 1, 2018, and continuing through the 2022 calendar year, in an amount not to exceed sixty-six million dollars ($66,000,000) 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) All moneys in the California Advanced Services Fund shall be available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to the commission for the 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) (1) The commission shall award grants from the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account on a technology-neutral basis, 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 through year 2022.

(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) (A) (i) The commission shall annually offer an existing facility-based broadband provider the opportunity to demonstrate that it will deploy broadband or upgrade existing facilities to a delineated unserved area within 180 days.

(ii) Except as provided in clause (iii), the commission shall not approve funding for a project to deploy broadband to a delineated unserved area if the existing facility-based broadband provider demonstrates to the commission, in response to the commission’s annual offer, that it will deploy broadband or upgrade existing broadband service throughout the project area.

(iii) If the existing facility-based broadband provider is unable to complete the deployment of broadband within the delineated unserved area within 180 days, the provider shall provide the commission with information to demonstrate what progress has been made or challenges faced in completing the deployment. If the commission finds that the provider is making progress towards the completion of the deployment, the commission shall extend the time to complete the project beyond the 180 days. If the commission finds that the provider is not making progress towards completing the deployment, the delineated unserved area shall be eligible for funding pursuant to this subdivision.

(B) (i) Except for information specified in clause (ii), information submitted to the commission that includes the provider’s plans for future broadband deployment shall not be publicly disclosed.

(ii) The commission may publicly disclose information regarding the area designated for a broadband deployment, the number of households or locations to be served, and the estimated date by which the deployment will be completed.

(C) 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 meet all of the following requirements:

(A) The project deploys infrastructure capable of providing broadband access at speeds of a minimum of 10 megabits per second (mbps) downstream and one mbps upstream to unserved households in census blocks where no provider offers access at speeds of at least 6 mbps downstream and one mbps upstream.

(B) All or a significant portion of the project deploys last-mile infrastructure to provide service to unserved households. Projects that only deploy middle-mile infrastructure are not eligible for grant funding. For a project that includes funding for middle-mile infrastructure, the commission shall verify that the proposed middle-mile infrastructure is indispensable for accessing the last-mile infrastructure.

(C) (i) Except as provided in clause (ii), until July 1, 2020, the project is not located in a census block where an existing facility-based broadband provider has accepted federal funds for broadband deployment from Phase II of the Connect America Fund, unless the existing facility-based broadband provider has notified the commission before July 1, 2020, that it has completed its Connect America Fund deployment in the census block.

(ii) An existing facility-based broadband provider is eligible for a grant pursuant to this subdivision to supplement a grant pursuant to Phase II of the Connect America Fund to expand broadband service within identified census blocks, as needed.

(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) (i) 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.

(ii) The aggregate amount of grants awarded pursuant to this paragraph shall not exceed five million dollars ($5,000,000).

(7) 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 household, if the entity otherwise meets the eligibility requirements and complies with program requirements established by the commission.

(8) 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.

(9) 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.

(10) 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 Web site at least 30 days before publishing the corresponding draft resolution.

(11) A grant awarded pursuant to this subdivision may include funding for the following costs consistent with paragraph (5) of subdivision (f):

(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) Cost incurred by an existing facility-based broadband provider to upgrade its existing facilities to provide for interconnection.

(12) A grant from the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account shall not include funding for costs of broadband infrastructure already funded by the Connect America Fund program or other similar federal public program that funds that infrastructure. This paragraph does not apply to funding from the federal high-cost support programs that support operations, including High Cost Loop Support (HCLS), Connect America Fund-Broadband Loop Support (CAF-BLS), or the Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM).

(13) 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.

(14) The commission may require each infrastructure grant applicant to indicate steps taken to first obtain any available funding from the Connect America Fund program or similar federal public programs that fund broadband infrastructure. This paragraph does not authorize the commission to reject a grant application on the basis that an applicant failed to seek project funding from the Connect America Fund program or another similar federal public program.

(15) Upon the accomplishment of the goal of the program specified in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b), not more than thirty million dollars ($30,000,000) of the moneys remaining in the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account shall be available for infrastructure projects that provide last-mile broadband access to households to which no facility-based broadband provider offers broadband service at speeds of at least 10 mbps downstream and one mbps upstream.

(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. 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 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) All remaining moneys in the Broadband Infrastructure Revolving Loan Account that are unencumbered as of January 1, 2018, shall be transferred to the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account.

(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, 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 (26 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 an eligible publicly supported community if that entity otherwise meets eligibility requirements and complies with program requirements established by the commission.

(3) (A) Not more than twenty million dollars ($20,000,000) of the moneys deposited into the Broadband Public Housing Account on or before January 1, 2018, 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 and the publicly supported community is unserved.

(B) (i) In its review of applications received pursuant to subparagraph (A), the commission shall award grants only to unserved housing developments, regardless of when the applicant filed its application.

(ii) For purposes of this subparagraph, a housing development is unserved when at least one housing unit within the housing development is not offered broadband Internet service.

(C) Only after all funds available pursuant to this paragraph in the Broadband Public Housing Account have been awarded may a publicly supported community otherwise eligible to submit an application for funding from the Broadband Public Housing Account submit an application for funding for these purposes from the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account.

(4) (A) Not more than five million dollars ($5,000,000) of the moneys deposited into the Broadband Public Housing Account on or before January 1, 2018, shall be available for grants and loans to a publicly supported community to support programs designed to increase adoption rates for broadband services for residents of that publicly supported community. A publicly supported community may be eligible for funding for a broadband adoption program only if the residential units in the facility to be served have access to 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.

(C) Only after all funds available pursuant to this paragraph in the Broadband Public Housing Account have been awarded may a publicly supported community otherwise eligible to submit an application for funding from the Broadband Public Housing Account submit an application for funding for these purposes from the Broadband Adoption Grant Account pursuant to subdivision (j).

(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 publicly supported communities.

(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) Any moneys in the Broadband Public Housing Account that have not been awarded pursuant to this subdivision by December 31, 2020, shall be transferred back to the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account.

(j) (1) Moneys in the Broadband Adoption 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.

(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, in a new or existing proceeding, develop, by June 30, 2018, criteria for awarding grants and a process and methodology for verifying outcomes. The commission shall be prepared to accept applications for grants from the Broadband Adoption Account no later than July 1, 2018.

(5) 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. In the proceeding specified in paragraph (4), the commission shall determine how best to prioritize projects for funding pursuant to this paragraph.

(6) 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 homepage of the California Advanced Service Fund on its Internet Web site a list of all pending applications, application challenge deadlines, and notices of amendments to pending applications.

(l) The commission shall notify the appropriate policy committees of the Legislature on the date on which the goal specified in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) is achieved.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 851, Sec. 3. (AB 1665) Effective October 15, 2017.)

282.
  

Any revenues that are deposited in funds created pursuant to this chapter shall not be used by the state for any purpose other than as specified in this chapter. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Controller may use the funds created pursuant to this chapter for loans to the General Fund as provided in Sections 16310 and 16381 of the Government Code.

(Added by renumbering Section 281 (as amended by Stats. 2008, Ch. 751) by Stats. 2009, Ch. 140, Sec. 162. (AB 1164) Effective January 1, 2010.)

285.
  

(a) As used in this section, “interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service” has the same meaning as in Section 9.3 of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(b) The Legislature finds and declares that the sole purpose of this section is to require the commission to impose the surcharges pursuant to this section to ensure that end-use customers of interconnected VoIP service providers contribute to the funds enumerated in this section, and, therefore, this section does not indicate the intent of the Legislature with respect to any other purpose.

(c) The commission shall require interconnected VoIP service providers to collect and remit surcharges on their California intrastate revenues in support of the following public purpose program funds:

(1) California High-Cost Fund-A Administrative Committee Fund under Section 275.

(2) California High-Cost Fund-B Administrative Committee Fund under Section 276.

(3) Universal Lifeline Telephone Service Trust Administrative Committee Fund under Section 277.

(4) Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program Administrative Committee Fund under Section 278.

(5) California Teleconnect Fund Administrative Committee Fund under Section 280.

(6) California Advanced Services Fund under Section 281.

(d) The authority to impose a surcharge pursuant to this section applies only to a surcharge imposed on end-use customers for interconnected VoIP service provided to an end-use customer’s place of primary use that is located within California. As used in this subdivision, “place of primary use” means the street address where the end-use customer’s use of interconnected VoIP service primarily occurs, or a reasonable proxy as determined by the interconnected VoIP service provider, such as the customer’s registered location for 911 purposes.

(e) (1) For the purposes of determining what revenues are subject to a surcharge imposed pursuant to this section, an interconnected VoIP service provider may use any of the following methodologies to identify intrastate revenues:

(A) The inverse of the interstate safe harbor percentage established by the Federal Communications Commission for interconnected VoIP service for federal universal service contribution purposes, as these percentages may be revised from time to time.

(B) A traffic study specific to the interconnected VoIP service provider allocating revenues between the federal and state jurisdictions.

(C) Another means of accurately apportioning interconnected VoIP service between federal and state jurisdictions.

(2) The methodology chosen pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be consistent with the revenue allocation methodology the provider uses to determine its federal universal service contribution obligations.

(3) It is the intent of the Legislature that a traffic study described in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) is excluded from public inspection pursuant to Public Utilities Commission General Order 66-C, because the disclosure of these studies would place the provider at an unfair business disadvantage.

(Added by Stats. 2011, Ch. 685, Sec. 1. (AB 841) Effective October 9, 2011.)

PUCPublic Utilities Code - PUC