STAND. COM. REP. NO. 110

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

, 2021

 

RE: H.B. No. 913

H.D. 1

 

 

 

 

Honorable Scott K. Saiki

Speaker, House of Representatives

Thirty-First State Legislature

Regular Session of 2021

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committee on Higher Education & Technology, to which was referred H.B. No. 913 entitled:

 

"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO THE HAWAII BROADBAND AND DIGITAL EQUITY OFFICE,"

 

begs leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose of this measure is to establish the Hawaii Broadband and Digital Equity Office within the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism and a state broadband coordinator to develop and implement specific strategies and plans to aggressively increase broadband affordability, penetration, and competitive availability in the State.

 

Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Health; Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism; Department of Human Services; Office of Economic Revitalization of the City and County of Honolulu; Hawaii State Public Library System; University of Hawaii at Manoa John A. Burns School of Medicine; Maui County Workforce Development Board; Hawaii Primary Care Association; Transform Hawaii Government; HawaiiKidsCAN; Hawaii Island Economic Development Board/Hawaii Leeward Planning; Rock Your Cause; Kaunalewa; Oahu County Democrats Digital Equity Committee; Auamo Collaborative; Learning Bond; Oceanit; Hawaii Hope Org; Code.org; Tangent Systems; Kamehameha Schools; Economic Development Alliance of Hawaii; Michaels Management; Crystal Clear Communications; Instant Teams; Hawaii Association of Independent Schools; Hawaii Dialogix Telecom, LLC; and thirteen individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and one individual.

 

Your Committee recognizes that the coronavirus pandemic has magnified the disparity among people and communities that have access to high-speed internet. It has become apparent that broadband and digital devices and broadband access are essential for teleworking, distance learning, communicating, and socializing, as well as accessing telehealth, e-commerce, and other services. A digital equity office can help bridge the digital divide by leading efforts to increase broadband affordability, penetration, and competitive availability in the State.

 

Your Committee has amended this measure by:

 

(1) Requiring the Hawaii Broadband and Digital Equity Office to actively seek out funding from federal and other sources;

 

(2) Changing the effective date to July 1, 2060, to encourage further discussion; and

 

(3) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity, consistency, and style.

 

As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Higher Education & Technology that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 913, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 913, H.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Consumer Protection & Commerce.

 

 

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Higher Education & Technology,

 

 

 

 

____________________________

GREGG TAKAYAMA, Chair