SB85 (2021) Detail

Establishing a broadband matching grant initiative and fund.


SB 85-FN - AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE

 

03/04/2021   0449s

2021 SESSION

21-0832

05/10

 

SENATE BILL 85-FN

 

AN ACT establishing a broadband matching grant initiative and fund.

 

SPONSORS: Sen. Bradley, Dist 3; Sen. Cavanaugh, Dist 16; Sen. Avard, Dist 12; Sen. Prentiss, Dist 5; Sen. Sherman, Dist 24; Sen. Ward, Dist 8; Sen. Watters, Dist 4; Sen. Daniels, Dist 11; Sen. Gannon, Dist 23; Sen. Giuda, Dist 2; Sen. Rosenwald, Dist 13; Sen. D'Allesandro, Dist 20; Sen. Hennessey, Dist 1; Sen. Carson, Dist 14; Rep. Umberger, Carr. 2; Rep. Marsh, Carr. 8; Rep. Cushing, Rock. 21

 

COMMITTEE: Election Law and Municipal Affairs

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill establishes the broadband matching grant initiative and fund in the office of strategic initiatives.

 

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

03/04/2021   0449s 21-0832

05/10

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty One

 

AN ACT establishing a broadband matching grant initiative and fund.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  Findings and Purpose.  The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the absolute necessity for broadband Internet access for all New Hampshire residents for working, education, medicine, social interaction, and other purposes. The pandemic has also shown gaps in adequate coverage primarily in rural areas of New Hampshire. Increasingly residents are going to require better access to broadband at a sufficient upload and download speed.  A matching grant that utilizes state and federal funds shall be matched by political subdivision and private funds is essential to improved broadband access.  The general court recognizes that a public-private partnership is essential to developing broadband access required in New Hampshire.

2  New Subdivision; Broadband Matching Grant Initiative.  Amend RSA 4-C by inserting after section 37 the following new subdivision:

Broadband Matching Grant Initiative

4-C:38  Broadband Matching Grant Initiative Established.  

I.  There is hereby established within the office of strategic initiatives a broadband matching grant initiative, the purpose of which shall be to provide matching grants to broadband providers, political subdivisions, and communications districts in order to improve broadband availability across the state.  When awarding grants, the office of strategic initiatives shall take into consideration broad geographic coverage of broadband services in New Hampshire and participation of political subdivisions and broadband providers in the grant process that will support business and residential users.

II.  Eligible projects shall provide high speed Internet access in unserved areas of the state that lack access to broadband services, as defined in RSA 38:38, I(f), from at least one broadband provider.

III.  Any broadband provider, political subdivision, or communications district formed under RSA 53-G shall be eligible for a grant of up to 50 percent of the total eligible costs of a project.  Projects under construction at the time of application shall be ineligible.  Projects in the planning stages shall be eligible.

4-C:39  Program Guidelines; Rulemaking.

I.  The office of strategic initiatives shall adopt rules under RSA 541-A and RSA 4-C:5, relative to grant application and distribution procedures.

II.  The rules shall, at a minimum, include the following:

(a)  Establishment of a technology-neutral competitive grant process based on objective criteria.

(b)  Establishment of a challenge process, with reasonable timelines, through which information may be provided to the state to ensure that funds are not used to build projects in served areas or areas where construction of a network to provide broadband service is planned to be complete within one year.

(c)  A method to ensure an applicant's trade secrets, financial information, and proprietary information submitted as part of an application are exempt from disclosure under RSA 91-A.   

(d)  Establishment of a process that promotes faster service, up to and including gigabit service.

III.  The office of strategic initiatives shall ensure that any grants awarded to broadband providers are provided with an appropriate level of consultation with the local governing bodies and a determination that the grants advance the goal of deploying broadband to unserved areas within communities.

IV.  Eligible costs for the program shall include, but are not limited to:

(a)  Costs associated with access to utility poles and other necessary structures.  

(b)  Construction of broadband network infrastructure in eligible areas.

(c)  Construction of service connections to individual homes or businesses.

(d)  Upgrades to existing infrastructure that currently provides service that does not meet the minimum definition of broadband in RSA 38:38, I(c).

(e)  All other costs directly attributable to the construction project.  In cases where a cost is shared with another ongoing project, shared costs shall be prorated.

(f)  Planning costs related to network design and program eligibility.

V.  Eligible costs shall not include any operating expenses or other recurring costs.

VI.  The broadband provider, political subdivision, or communications district shall provide a minimum of 50 percent of the total cost of the project.  Sources of the match may include revenue bonds issued by the political subdivision, bonds issued by the communication district, or private investment by broadband providers either jointly or independently.  Sources of the match provided by broadband providers shall not include other federal or state funding awarded specifically to support the expansion of broadband networks.

VII.  The office of strategic initiatives shall not, as a condition of an award of grant money, impose any requirement, rate regulation, or other term or condition of service that differs from the applicant's terms or conditions of service in its other service areas.

4-C:40  Broadband Matching Grant Fund.  

I.  There is hereby established the broadband matching grant fund.  The fund shall be kept separate and distinct from all other funds and shall be continually appropriated to the director of the office of strategic initiatives for the purposes of this subdivision.  In addition to state appropriations, the office of strategic initiatives may accept gifts, grants, and donations for deposit into the fund.

II.  Any federal funds received by the state for the purposes of expanding or improving Internet access that are not otherwise committed to other programs or required by the federal legislation authorizing the funds shall be deposited into the broadband matching grant fund.  

3  New Subparagraph; Dedicated Funds; Broadband Matching Grant Fund.  Amend RSA 6:12, I(b) by inserting after subparagraph (364) the following new subparagraph:

(365)  Moneys deposited in the broadband matching grant fund under RSA 4-C:40.

4  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2021.

 

LBA

21-0832

Amended 3/23/21

 

SB 85-FN- FISCAL NOTE

AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE (AMENDMENT #2021-0449s)

 

AN ACT establishing a broadband matching grant initiative and fund.

 

FISCAL IMPACT:      [ X ] State              [ X ] County               [ X ] Local              [    ] None

 

 

 

Estimated Increase / (Decrease)

STATE:

FY 2021

FY 2022

FY 2023

FY 2024

   Appropriation

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

$0

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Funding Source:

  [ X ] General            [    ] Education            [    ] Highway           [ X ] Other - Broadband Matching Grant Fund

 

 

 

 

 

COUNTY:

 

 

 

 

   Revenue

$0

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

   Expenditures

$0

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

 

 

 

 

 

LOCAL:

 

 

 

 

   Revenue

$0

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

   Expenditures

$0

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

 

METHODOLOGY:

This bill establishes a broadband matching grant initiative within the Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI) and a nonlapsing continually appropriated Broadband Matching Grant Fund to provide matching grants to eligible broadband providers, political subdivisions and communications districts in order to improve broadband access across the state. OSI anticipates partnering with other state agencies to fulfill the objectives of the bill.  The program shall be funded with state appropriations, gifts grants and donations and any federal funds received by the state for the purposes of expanding or improving Internet access that are not otherwise committed to other programs or required by the federal legislation to be used for other purposes.  There is no appropriation in this bill.

 

The Office is unable to estimate a potential administrative cost as the number of applications are unknown, and therefore the fiscal impact of this new program is indeterminable.

 

Any political subdivision or communications district formed under RSA 53-G shall be eligible for a grant of up to 50 percent of the total eligible costs of a project.  The fiscal impact would be based on the number and scale of eligible projects and based on rules for eligibility determined by the Office of Strategic Initiatives.

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

Office of Strategic Initiatives

 

Links

SB85 at GenCourtMobile
SB85 Discussion

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Feb. 1, 2021 Senate Hearing
March 4, 2021 Senate Floor Vote
March 4, 2021 Senate Floor Vote
March 25, 2021 Senate Floor Vote
May 10, 2021 House Hearing

Bill Text Revisions

SB85 Revision: 32163 Date: March 24, 2021, 10:06 p.m.
SB85 Revision: 32032 Date: Jan. 26, 2021, 12:41 p.m.

Docket


May 10, 2021: Public Hearing: 05/10/2021 10:50 am Members of the public may attend using the following link: To join the webinar: https://www.zoom.us/j/92166004660 / Executive session on pending legislation may be held throughout the day (time permitting) from the time the committee is initially convened.


Feb. 25, 2021: Introduced (in recess of) 02/25/2021 and referred to Finance HJ 4 P. 51


March 25, 2021: Ought to Pass: RC 24Y-0N, MA; OT3rdg; 03/25/2021; SJ 9


March 25, 2021: Committee Report: Ought to Pass, 03/25/2021; SC 16


March 4, 2021: Ought to Pass with Amendment 2021-0449s, RC 24Y-0N, MA; Refer to Finance Rule 4-5; 03/04/2021; SJ 6


March 4, 2021: Committee Amendment # 2021-0449s, RC 24Y-0N, AA; 03/04/2021; SJ 6


March 4, 2021: Ought to Pass with Amendment 2021-0449s, RC 24Y-0N, MA; Refer to Finance Rule 4-5; 03/04/2021; SJ 6


March 4, 2021: Ought to Pass with Amendment 0449s, RC 24Y-0N, MA; OT3rdg; 03/04/2021; SJ 6


March 4, 2021: Committee Amendment # 2021-0449s, RC 24Y-0N, AA; 03/04/2021; SJ 6


March 4, 2021: Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2021-0449s, 03/04/2021; SC 12


March 4, 2021: Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2021-0449s, 03/04/2021; Vote 5-0; CC; SC 12


Feb. 1, 2021: Remote Hearing: 02/01/2021, 09:20 am; Links to join the hearing can be found in the Senate Calendar; SC 9


Jan. 6, 2021: Introduced 01/06/2021 and Referred to Election Law and Municipal Affairs; SJ 3