HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

2397

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2022

H.D. 3

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO BROADBAND.

 

 

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

 


PART I

SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the provision of equitable and robust access to broadband continues to be among the State's most pressing challenges. Hawaii needs to invest in open access, carrier-neutral cable landing infrastructure to attract transpacific fiber optic cable companies and expand its fiber connectivity to the world and throughout the islands, particularly in rural, underserved, and unserved communities, to achieve the digital equity necessary to build a resilient digital economy. Attracting partners with the necessary technical expertise and resources can develop Hawaii into a strategic communications and knowledge hub in the Pacific. This hub would incorporate a robust global communications network and provide cloud platforms to establish next generation applications, such as artificial intelligence and smart communities, in Hawaii.

The legislature further finds that to build a robust broadband infrastructure, the State must act quickly to take advantage of various federal and private funds available this year. For example, the 2021 federal Consolidated Appropriations Act earmarks:

(1) At least $30,000,000 for the department of Hawaiian home lands;

(2) $3,200,000,000 nationally in an emergency broadband benefit for low-income Americans to become connected or remain connected to broadband;

(3) $250,000,000 nationally for a new telehealth pilot program;

(4) $300,000,000 for a national grant program to fund broadband in rural areas; and

(5) $65,000,000 for the improvement of the nation's broadband maps.

The legislature notes that the first phase of deployment of these federal funds, in part, supports the South American Pacific Link, a transpacific fiber cable project that would connect Hawaii to South America, Central America, and the east coast of the continental United States. Additionally, over $100,000,000 is available from the United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration to address the broadband capacity to support telecommuting through pilot projects focused on building broadband infrastructure.

Accordingly, the purpose of this Act is to ensure that the State takes full advantage of available funds to build the broadband infrastructure necessary to sustain interconnectivity throughout islands by:

(1) Establishing a Hawaii broadband infrastructure authority to oversee broadband infrastructure in the State;

(2) Strengthening and clarifying the Hawaii broadband and digital equity office's role in the broadband access and digital equity;

(3) Ensuring that the Hawaii broadband infrastructure authority captures all the available federal funding to the State and ensures that funding efforts among all state agencies are coordinated; and

(4) Appropriating funds for the establishment of the authority and for broadband infrastructure across the State.

PART II

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

"Chapter

hawaii Broadband infrastructure authority

   -1 Short title. This chapter may be cited as the Hawaii Broadband Infrastructure Authority Act.

   -2 Definitions. As used in this chapter:

"Advanced communications technology infrastructure" means any communications technology infrastructure or infrastructure improvement that expands the deployment of, or improves the quality of, broadband availability and wireless service coverage.

"Authority" means the Hawaii broadband infrastructure authority.

"Board" means the Hawaii broadband infrastructure authority board.

"Broadband service" shall have the same meaning as "broadband access or broadband service" in section 440J-1.

"Project" means real property, personal property, equipment, fixtures, materials, wires, cables, labor and other improvements necessary and proper for the provision of advanced communications technology infrastructure.

   -3 State connectivity goals. The goals of the State related to connectivity are that:

(1) High-speed connectivity be universally available in the State to all residents, businesses, and community anchor institutions;

(2) There be secure, affordable, reliable, competitive, and sustainable forward-looking advanced communications technology infrastructure that meets current and future needs;

(3) All residents, businesses, and institutions in the State are able to take full advantage of the economic, health, educational, and other opportunities available through connectivity services; and

(4) Existing public and private infrastructure be used effectively and efficiently in the public interest to provide advanced communications technology infrastructure in all areas of the State.

   -4 Hawaii broadband infrastructure authority; establishment; board; membership. (a) The Hawaii broadband infrastructure authority is established as a body corporate and politic and a public instrumentality of the State, to oversee and manage public advanced technology infrastructure. The exercise of the powers conferred by this chapter to the authority is deemed and held to be the performance of essential governmental functions. The authority shall be administratively attached to the department of commerce and consumer affairs.

(b) The authority shall consist of a board composed of the following members:

(1) The following seven members appointed by the governor as provided in section 26-34:

(A) Three members who possess expertise in advanced communications technology infrastructure or communications service, including expertise in network design, network operations, and middle mile infrastructure;

(B) One member representing rural communities in the State;

(C) One member who possesses expertise in banking or financial lending, including expertise in the provision of loans or other capital investments for infrastructure deployment in the State;

(D) One member who possesses expertise in education system needs; and

(E) One member who possesses expertise in telehealth delivery and telehealth system needs; and

(2) Six ex officio voting members, or their designees, as follows:

(A) The director of commerce and consumer affairs;

(B) The director of business, economic development, and tourism;

(C) The president of the University of Hawaii;

(D) The director of finance;

(E) The chief information officer; and

(F) The director of the Hawaii broadband and digital equity office.

   -5 Terms; reappointments; vacancies; chair. The appointed members shall serve three-year staggered terms to be determined by the governor; provided that the initial appointments shall be as follows:

(1) Two members shall serve a one-year term;

(2) Two members shall serve a two-year term; and

(3) Three members shall serve a three-year term.

Members appointed by the governor shall be eligible for reappointment. If a member appointed by the governor fails to serve until the expiration of the member's term, the governor may appoint a replacement member for the remainder of that member's term. The board shall select one member to serve as chair of the authority.

   -6 Executive director. Upon the recommendation of the board of the authority, the governor shall appoint an executive director of the authority as provided in section 26-34. The executive director shall serve a four-year term and be eligible for reappointment. The executive director shall manage the authority's programs, services, and staff and shall perform other duties the authority considers appropriate. The executive director shall report to the board on matters and form and at times as defined in the authority's bylaws and rules.

   -7 Officers; quorum. The authority may elect a secretary and a treasurer. Six members of the board shall constitute a quorum, and the affirmative vote of six members shall be necessary for any action of the authority.

   -8 Indemnification. A member of the authority, while acting within the scope of this chapter, shall not be subject to any personal liability resulting from the exercise or carrying out of any of the authority's purposes or powers. Each member of the authority shall be indemnified by the authority against expenses actually and necessarily incurred by the member in connection with the defense of any action or proceeding in which the member is made a party by reason of being or having been a member of the authority and against any final judgment rendered against the member in that action or proceeding.

   -9 Conflicts. A member of the authority shall not participate in any decision on any contract entered into by the authority under this chapter if that member has any interest, direct or indirect, in any firm, partnership, corporation, or association that is party to the contract. The interest shall be disclosed to the authority in writing and shall be set forth in the minutes of the authority. Members shall file an annual conflict of intertest disclosure report in a form to be determined in its rules.

   -10 Powers and duties of the authority. (a) The authority may:

(1) Sue and be sued;

(2) Have a seal and alter the same at pleasure;

(3) Make and execute contracts and other instruments necessary or convenient to the exercise of its powers;

(4) Adopt bylaws and rules in accordance with chapter 91 for its organization, internal management, and to carry into effect its purposes, powers, and programs;

(5) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, establish and collect fees for the use of any project, equipment, or services and for administrative expenses incurred by the authority;

(6) Acquire real or personal property including rights of way or easements, on either a temporary or long-term basis by gift, purchase, transfer, foreclosure, lease or otherwise; improve, hold, sell with or without public bidding, assign, lease, rent, encumber, mortgage or otherwise dispose of any real or personal property, any interest in real or personal property or mortgage interests owned or in its control, custody or possession; and release or relinquish any right, title claim, lien, interest, easement or demand, however acquired, including upon threat of foreclosure;

(7) Prepare, plan, improve, equip, maintain, reconstruct, and operate projects, attendant facilities, and infrastructure, including promoting the landing of trans-Pacific submarine cable with the development of a shared access cable station and associated terrestrial connectivity to reduce barriers to fiber landing in Hawaii;

(8) Incur debts;

(9) Accept federal funds or other assistance and coordinate the use of federal funding available to all agencies;

(10) Fix and collect fees;

(11) Enter into agreements with and to accept loans, aid, contributions, grants and the cooperation or assistance of the United States, or any agency of the United States, or of the State or any agency or governmental subdivision in furtherance of the purposes of this chapter, including the development and financing of a project, and to do all things necessary in order to avail the authority of those agreements, loans, aid, contributions, grants, and cooperation;

(12) Regulate and oversee broadband infrastructure, including the reduction of barriers to fiber landing in Hawaii;

(13) Manage or operate real or personal property;

(14) Appear on the authority's own behalf before boards, commissions, departments or agencies of a municipality, the State, or the United States;

(15) Lease or rent facilities or equipment used to transmit voice, data, or video signals;

(16) Invest any funds not needed for immediate use, including any funds held in reserve, in property or in securities in which fiduciaries in the State may legally invest funds; and

(17) Hire staff.

(b) In addition to other powers conferred upon it, the authority may do all things necessary and convenient to carry out the powers expressly provided in this chapter.

   -11 Rights of way; projects and facilities. (a) The authority may develop, lease or otherwise acquire, own, hold, dispose of and encumber conduit, fiber, rights of way, and other real and personal property related to broadband infrastructure that shall be necessary or convenient to the fulfillment of such purposes.

(b) The authority may prepare or cause to be prepared plans, specifications, designs, and estimates of costs for the construction and equipping of a project and attendant facilities and from time to time modify or cause to be modified those plans, specifications, designs, or estimates.

(c) The authority may contract to construct, acquire, alter, repair, reconstruct, rehabilitate, improve, and equip a project and necessary and usual attendant facilities.

   -12 Legislative oversight. (a) No later than January 15, 2023, and annually thereafter, the authority shall provide a report to the legislature with the following information:

(1) The budget of the authority;

(2) Details of funding received by the federal government or other sources, including amounts, deadlines for use, and eligible uses of funds;

(3) Documentation of the activities of the authority, including a detailed description of the progress toward the state connectivity goals in section    -3;

(4) A listing of any investments of money in the authority, while maintaining confidentiality for organizations working with the authority; and

(5) An analysis of the availability of communications services and advanced communications technology infrastructure, including an analysis of the competitive market in the State for communications services and advanced communications technology infrastructure, and whether the communications services provided in the State are reasonably comparable to services provided regionally and nationwide.

(b) As part of the report required under subsection (a), the authority shall include findings and recommendations following its review of the effectiveness of the authority in furthering the purposes of this chapter, including:

(1) An analysis of whether the authority has fulfilled its intended purpose under this chapter;

(2) An analysis of whether the activities of the authority should continue for a specified period of time and any recommendations, including proposed legislation, for changes to the powers and duties of the authority to better further the purposes of this chapter; and

(3) An analysis of whether the activities of the authority should be terminated and the laws governing the authority repealed within a specified time frame and any recommendations, including proposed legislation, necessary to facilitate an orderly transition following the termination of activities of the authority, including the appropriate disposition of the assets of the authority."

PART III

SECTION 3. Section 206S-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended as follows:

1. By adding a new definition to be appropriately inserted and to read:

""Broadband equity" means a condition in which all residents are able to access, adopt, and use affordable, high-speed, and reliable broadband that meets their needs."

2. By amending the definition of "digital equity" to read:

""Digital equity" means a condition in which broadband equity is achieved and all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in society, democracy, and the economy."

SECTION 4. Section 206S-3, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]206S‑3[]] Hawaii broadband and digital equity office; duties. In furtherance of the State's objectives and policies for the economy pursuant to section 226-10.5, the office shall:

(1) Develop and implement specific strategies and plans to aggressively increase broadband affordability, penetration, and competitive availability in the State;

(2) Support the efforts of both public and private entities in the State to enhance or facilitate the deployment of and access to competitively priced, advanced electronic communications services, including broadband and its products and services and internet access services of general application throughout the State;

[(3) Promote the landing of trans-Pacific submarine cable, including the development of a shared access cable station and associated terrestrial connectivity to reduce barriers to fiber landing in Hawaii;

(4)] (3) Promote, advocate, and facilitate the implementation of the findings and recommendations of the Hawaii broadband task force established by Act 2, First Special Session Laws of Hawaii 2007, and the 2020 Hawaii Broadband Strategic Plan;

[(5)] (4) Support the findings of the community-based Broadband Hui as reflected in its digital equity declaration;

[(6)] (5) Administer and coordinate federal and state grant programs in support of [broadband infrastructure, innovation,] digital equity and the digital economy;

[(7)] (6) Actively seek out funding from public and private sources in furtherance of the office's duties pursuant to this section; and

[(8)] (7) Provide a repository, aggregation point, and governance framework for broadband mapping and digital equity data from various sources, including digital literacy, telehealth, distance education, remote work, internet accessibility, and service coverage to support mapping, reporting, infrastructure deployment, and data-driven policy."

PART IV

SECTION 5. There is appropriated out of the federal funds received by the State the sum of $           or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2022-2023 to enhance broadband infrastructure programs and expand access to broadband in the State, including the installation of broadband infrastructure.

The sum appropriated shall be expended by the University of Hawaii for the purposes of this Act.

PART V

SECTION 6. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 7. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2050.

 



 

Report Title:

Hawaii Broadband Infrastructure Authority; Hawaii Broadband and Digital Equity Office; Digital Equity; Broadband Equity; UH; Appropriation

 

Description:

Establishes the Hawaii broadband infrastructure authority. Defines broadband equity within the Hawaii broadband and digital equity office. Appropriates federal funds. Effective 7/1/2050. (HD3)

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.