Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    H.B. No. 1191

       H.D. 2

       S.D. 2




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirty-First State Legislature

Regular Session of 2021

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Ways and Means, to which was referred H.B. No. 1191, H.D. 2, S.D. 1, entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose and intent of this measure is to establish a broadband infrastructure grant program to provide broadband access to unserved and partially served areas in the State.


     Your Committee received written comments in support of this measure from the Department of Health; Department of Transportation; Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism; Mayor's Office for the County of Maui; AARP Hawaii; Hawaii Primary Care Association; AlohaCare; Maui Chamber of Commerce; Hawaii Office of Community Services; Democratic Party of Hawaii; and Charter Communications.


     Your Committee received written comments on this measure from the Department of Budget and Finance, Office of Information Practices, and Hawaiian Telcom.


     Your Committee finds that the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has highlighted the need for equitable access to high-speed broadband services.  The grant program supported by this measure will benefit students and teachers engaged in remote learning; workers performing their duties remotely; health professionals and patients, including kupuna, who rely on telemedicine; and others in unserved or underserved communities.


     Your Committee has amended this measure by:


     (1)  Adding a definition for "underserved area" and substituting "underserved areas" for the reference in the measure to "areas that are partially served";


     (2)  Specifying that eligible applicants are required to commit to paying a minimum of eighty percent of the total project cost out of the applicant's own funds if the State's portion of the total project cost is derived from general funds or general obligation bonds, but not if the State's portion was provided by the federal government;


     (3)  Specifying that when reviewing applications, the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, upon request, shall treat commercially sensitive information as confidential as suggested in testimony from the Office of Information Practices;


     (4)  Requiring applicants to certify that no other federal or state program provides funding that is available to the applicant for the project;


     (5)  Specifying that the proceeds from the general obligation bonds shall be deposited into the Hawaii broadband infrastructure fund;


     (6)  Appropriating an unspecified sum from the Hawaii broadband infrastructure fund for the broadband infrastructure grant program; and


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


     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Ways and Means that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 1191, H.D. 2, S.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 1191, H.D. 2, S.D. 2.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Ways and Means,