HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

2524

TWENTY-SIXTH LEGISLATURE, 2012

H.D. 2

STATE OF HAWAII

S.D. 2

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO THE REGULATION OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND CABLE TELEVISION SERVICES.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The State of Hawaii recognizes that advanced broadband capability is essential infrastructure required to drive innovation, the economy, and job creation in the twenty-first century as the telephone, interstate highways, and air travel did in the twentieth century. In Act 199, Session Laws of Hawaii 2010, the legislature recognized that, for Hawaii to compete successfully in the global economy of the twenty-first century, Hawaii must:

(1) Ensure access to broadband communications for all households, businesses, and organizations throughout Hawaii at speeds and prices comparable to the average speeds and prices available in the top three performing countries in the world;

(2) Increase availability of advanced broadband communications service on a competitive basis to reduce prices, increase service penetration, and improve service to all persons in Hawaii;

(3) Increase broadband availability at affordable cost to low-income and other disadvantaged groups, including making low-cost, broadband-capable computers available to eligible recipients;

(4) Encourage shared use of infrastructure to accelerate broadband implementation, where appropriate, reduce underlying costs to providers by using incentives rather than eminent domain procedures, ease deployment of broadband, and ease entry into a competitive broadband marketplace;

(5) Increase flexible, timely, and responsible access to public rights-of-way and public facilities for broadband service providers; and

(6) Develop a more streamlined permit approval process that reduces the time and cost of infrastructure deployment, to be created jointly by disparate permitting agencies, stakeholders, and other interested parties.

Act 199 implemented activities toward these goals.

The purpose of this Act is to continue implementation of activities to achieve these goals. This Act creates a communications commission composed of two commissioners within the department of commerce and consumer affairs. The commission's initial charge is to streamline and modernize the State's regulatory framework, laws, policies, processes, and procedures for telecommunications to parallel the cable television regulatory framework, thereby increasing the deployment of broadband infrastructure related to telecommunications and cable television providers in order to increase and expedite the deployment of broadband infrastructure and the offering of world-class broadband services at affordable prices throughout the State. In so doing, the commission shall work with other governmental entities and stakeholders to develop demonstration projects involving the State of Hawaii's broadband technology opportunities program grants awarded through the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and other applications for state and county permits that expedite permitting processes to provide access to public rights of way and public facilities for the construction of broadband infrastructure.

This Act directs the commission to recommend a new statutory framework for telecommunications carriers and cable operators that includes recommendations for expediting permit procedures to the legislature by January 1, 2013. Among other things, the proposed legislation shall streamline regulation of telecommunications and cable services under the commission by January 1, 2014; create a modern regulatory and permitting environment that supports and advances broadband deployment, in coordination with other state and county government agencies; authorize the commission to represent the State's interests related to broadband, telecommunications, and video programming services before the federal government and other entities; and require the commission to work closely with stakeholders in developing telecommunications, broadband, and related policies, initiatives, and programs to ensure that the stakeholders' interests and concerns are addressed.

SECTION 2. The Hawaii Revised Statutes is amended by adding a new chapter to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"Chapter

TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND CABLE TELEVISION SERVICES

   -1 Definitions. As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

"Broadband" means an "always on" service that combines computer processing capabilities, information provision, and computing interactivity with data transport, enabling end users to access the Internet and use a variety of applications, at minimum speeds set by the Federal Communications Commission.

"Cable operator" means any person or group of persons who:

(1) Provides cable service over a cable system and directly or through one or more affiliates owns a significant interest in the cable system; or

(2) Otherwise controls or is responsible for, through any arrangement, the management and operation of a cable system.

"Cable service" means:

(1) The transmission to subscribers of video programming or other programming service; and

(2) Subscriber interaction, if any, which is required for the selection of video programming or other programming service.

"Cable system" means any facility within this State consisting of a set of closed transmission paths and associated signal generation, reception, and control equipment that is designed to provide cable service which includes video programming and which is provided to multiple subscribers within a community, but shall not include a facility:

(1) That serves only to retransmit the television signals of one or more television broadcast stations;

(2) That serves only subscribers in one or more multiple unit dwellings under common ownership, control, or management, unless that facility or those facilities use any public right-of-way; or

(3) Owned, operated, or otherwise controlled by a telecommunications carrier subject in whole or in part to chapter 269, except to the extent that those facilities provide video programming directly to subscribers.

"Commission" means the communications commission.

"Department" means the department of commerce and consumer affairs.

"Facility" includes all real property, antennas, poles, supporting structures, wires, cables, conduits, amplifiers, instruments, appliances, fixtures, and other personal property used by a cable operator or telecommunications carrier to provide service.

"Telecommunications" means the transmission, between or among points specified by a user, of information of the user's choosing, without change in the form or content of the information as sent and received, and does not include cable service as defined in section 440G-3.

"Telecommunications carrier" or "telecommunications common carrier" means any person that owns, operates, manages, or controls any facility used to furnish telecommunications services for profit to the public, or to classes of users as to be effectively available directly to the public, engaged in the provision of services.

"Telecommunications service" means the offering of telecommunications for a fee directly to the public, or to the classes of users as to be effectively available directly to the public, regardless of the facilities used.

"Video programming" means programming provided by, or generally considered comparable to programming provided by, a television broadcast station.

   -2 Communications commission; composition. (a) There is established a communications commission within the department of commerce and consumer affairs. The commission shall be composed of two members, who shall be appointed by the governor as provided in section 26-34. The members shall be appointed for terms of six years each, except that the terms of the members first appointed shall be for four and six years, respectively, as designated by the governor at the time of appointment. Each member shall hold office until the member's successor is appointed and qualified. No member shall serve more than two consecutive terms. The members shall be selected on the basis of their knowledge and experience in telecommunications, cable television regulation, broadband, government, business, finance, law, or similar fields. The members shall devote full time to their duties as members of the commission and no member shall hold any other public office or other employment during the member's term of office. No individual owning any stock or bonds of any telecommunications carrier or cable operator, or having any interest in, or deriving any remuneration from, any telecommunications carrier, cable operator, or access organization shall be appointed as a commissioner.

(b) The members shall be paid a salary set at eighty-seven per cent of the salary of the director of human resources development. The members shall be exempt from chapters 76 and 89, but shall be members of the state employees' retirement system and shall be eligible to receive the benefits of any state or federal employee benefit program generally applicable to officers and employees of the State, including those under chapter 87A.

   -3 General powers and duties. The commission shall have the following powers and duties:

(1) To regularly study the regulatory framework and provisions governing telecommunications carriers and cable operators to develop and update comprehensive policies and recommendations for administrative and statutory changes to further the deployment of broadband services; promote the interests of the State; and provide incentives, expedite procedures, and establish policies to increase investment in and further the deployment of broadband infrastructure within the State;

(2) To further the purposes of this chapter with the authority expressly conferred by, or reasonably implied from, this chapter;

(3) To appoint, without regard to chapter 76, one or more attorneys independent of the attorney general who shall act as attorneys for the commission; and to appoint, with or without regard to chapter 76, as appropriate, staff that are necessary for the performance of the commission's functions;

(4) To submit annually to the governor and the legislature a written report of its activities and recommendations for administrative and statutory changes required to further the purposes of this chapter; and

(5) To adopt rules pursuant to chapter 91 necessary to effectuate the purposes of this chapter."

SECTION 3. Section 28-8.3, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended as follows:

1. By amending subsection (a) to read:

"(a) No department of the State other than the attorney general may employ or retain any attorney, by contract or otherwise, for the purpose of representing the State or the department in any litigation, rendering legal counsel to the department, or drafting legal documents for the department; provided that the foregoing provision shall not apply to the employment or retention of attorneys:

(1) By the public utilities commission, the labor and industrial relations appeals board, and the Hawaii labor relations board;

(2) By any court or judicial or legislative office of the State; provided that if the attorney general is requested to provide representation to a court or judicial office by the chief justice or the chief justice's designee, or to a legislative office by the speaker of the house of representatives and the president of the senate jointly, and the attorney general declines to provide [such] the representation on the grounds of conflict of interest, the attorney general shall retain an attorney for the court, judicial, or legislative office, subject to approval by the court, judicial, or legislative office;

(3) By the legislative reference bureau;

(4) By any compilation commission that may be constituted from time to time;

(5) By the real estate commission for any action involving the real estate recovery fund;

(6) By the contractors license board for any action involving the contractors recovery fund;

(7) By the office of Hawaiian affairs;

(8) By the department of commerce and consumer affairs for the enforcement of violations of chapters 480 and 485A;

(9) As grand jury counsel;

(10) By the Hawaiian home lands trust individual claims review panel;

(11) By the Hawaii health systems corporation, or its regional system boards, or any of their facilities;

(12) By the auditor;

(13) By the office of ombudsman;

(14) By the insurance division;

(15) By the University of Hawaii;

(16) By the Kahoolawe island reserve commission;

(17) By the division of consumer advocacy;

(18) By the office of elections;

(19) By the campaign spending commission;

(20) By the Hawaii tourism authority, as provided in section 201B-2.5;

(21) By the division of financial institutions for any action involving the mortgage loan recovery fund; [or]

(22) By the communications commission; or

[(22)] (23) By a department, in the event the attorney general, for reasons deemed by the attorney general to be good and sufficient, declines to employ or retain an attorney for a department; provided that the governor waives the provision of this section."

2. By amending subsection (c) to read:

"(c) Every attorney employed by any department on a full-time basis, except an attorney employed by the public utilities commission, the communications commission, the labor and industrial relations appeals board, the Hawaii labor relations board, the office of Hawaiian affairs, the Hawaii health systems corporation or its regional system boards, the department of commerce and consumer affairs in prosecution of consumer complaints, insurance division, the division of consumer advocacy, the University of Hawaii, the Hawaii tourism authority as provided in section 201B-2.5, the Hawaiian home lands trust individual claims review panel, or as grand jury counsel, shall be a deputy attorney general."

SECTION 4. The communications commission shall work with other governmental entities and stakeholders to develop at least two demonstration projects that expedite permitting processes to provide access to public rights-of-way and public facilities for the construction of broadband infrastructure within forty-five to ninety day timetables, including:

(1) The State of Hawaii's broadband technology opportunities program grants; and

(2) A private sector application for state and county permits.

SECTION 5. No later than January 1, 2013, the communications commission shall develop and submit to the legislature:

(1) A status report on the outcomes of the demonstration projects to expedite permitting processes for the construction of broadband infrastructure, developed pursuant to section 4 of this Act; and

(2) Recommended legislation to streamline the regulation of telecommunications carriers and cable operators in the State under the communications commission and chapter    , Hawaii Revised Statutes, that shall take effect by January 1, 2014.

SECTION 6. There is appropriated out of the cable television division subaccount in the compliance resolution fund established under section 26-9(o), Hawaii Revised Statutes, the sum of $           or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2012-2013 to carry out the purposes of this Act, including the hiring of one full-time attorney and one full-time office assistant, who shall be exempt from chapter 76, Hawaii Revised Statutes, and two full-time members of the communications commission.

The sum appropriated shall be expended by the department of commerce and consumer affairs for the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 7. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 8. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2012.



 

Report Title:

Telecommunications and Cable Television Services; Communications Commission; Appropriation

 

Description:

Establishes the communications commission within the DCCA; directs the commission to regularly study the regulatory framework and provisions governing telecommunications carriers and cable operators to develop and update comprehensive policies and recommendations for administrative and statutory changes to further the deployment of broadband services; promote the interests of the State; and provide incentives, expedite procedures, and establish policies to increase investment in and further the deployment of broadband infrastructure within the State; requires two demonstration projects to expedite permitting for broadband infrastructure; requires 1/1/2013 status report to the legislature on the outcomes of the demonstration projects to expedite permitting processes for the construction of broadband infrastructure, and recommended legislation to streamline regulation of telecommunications carriers and cable operators in the State by 1/1/2014. Appropriates funds. (SD2)

 

 

 

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