STAND. COM. REP. NO. 325
RE: S.B. No. 553
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2019
State of Hawaii
Your Committees on Technology and Energy, Economic Development, and Tourism, to which was referred S.B. No. 553 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO BROADBAND SERVICE INFRASTRUCTURE,"
beg leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to establish the broadband service infrastructure grant program to award grants to applicants to extend deployment of infrastructure used to provide broadband service to unserved and underserved areas of the State.
Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., and Charter Communications. Your Committees received comments on this measure from the Cable Television Division of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and Hawaiian Telcom.
Your Committees support efforts to improve access to broadband services for residents, consumers, and businesses across the State. Although broadband coverage in the State is widespread, additional investment can be made to keep up with needs in rural communities to bridge the digital divide. The broadband service infrastructure grant program proposed by this measure would facilitate deployment of infrastructure necessary to bring broadband service to unserved and underserved areas of the State.
Your Committees have amended this measure by:
(1) Amending the definition of "broadband service" to be the same as the definition for "broadband access or broadband service" under section 440J-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes;
(2) Replacing the term and definition of "broadband service infrastructure" with the term "broadband infrastructure", to have the same meaning as under section 440J-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes;
(3) Deleting language that would have prohibited an applicant from using grant funds to upgrade existing broadband infrastructure;
(4) Deleting language that would have made any applicant who receives funds under another federal or state grant or loan program ineligible for the grant program;
(5) Requiring an applicant to commit to paying a minimum of fifty percent, rather than twenty percent, of the project costs;
(6) Including any non-governmental entity with demonstrated experience in providing broadband infrastructure as an eligible applicant;
(7) Authorizing a non-governmental broadband infrastructure provider to be an eligible applicant or to partner with another eligible applicant;
(8) Deleting the length of time the applicant has been providing broadband service in the State from the scoring criteria for awarding funding under the grant program;
(9) Deleting language that would have required the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (Department) to not include consideration of new or additional regulatory obligations;
(10) Deleting language that would have required the Department to adopt rules that do not include certain financial commitments to secure performance;
(11) Making it effective on January 1, 2020, to allow time for implementation; and
(12) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Technology and Energy, Economic Development, and Tourism that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 553, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 553, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committees on Ways and Means and Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Technology and Energy, Economic Development, and Tourism,
GLENN WAKAI, Chair
JARRETT KEOHOKALOLE, Chair