House Committee Approves Broadband Infrastructure Legislation

House Committee Approves Broadband Infrastructure Legislation
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This week, by a vote of 13-9, the House State and Local Government committee approved legislation allowing certain counties and municipalities to install and maintain broadband infrastructure to be leased to a private provider. NCACC Executive Director Kevin Leonard attended the committee meeting and spoke in favor of the proposed legislation which would address the Association’s top priority goal. House Bill 431 FIBER NC Act (https://www.ncleg.gov/BillLookUp/2019/h431) does not authorize local governments to provide broadband services. Under the legislation, counties meeting one of the following criteria are authorized to install or maintain broadband infrastructure:
* Any county with more than 4.75% of the county without a provider of broadband according to the Federal Communications Commission
* Any county with a major military installation

The legislation provides the process that a county must adhere to in order to install broadband infrastructure, which includes a written report and business plan, feasibility study, public hearing, and adoption of a board resolution. The legislation also provides specifications on lease requirements, as well as RFP specifications.

The legislation next heads to the House Finance committee. NCACC encourages its members to call your House member(s) (https://www.ncleg.gov/Members/RepresentationByCounty/H) , especially any of those on the House Finance committee (https://www.ncleg.gov/Committees/CommitteeInfo/HouseStanding/24) , and urge them to support counties’ top legislative goal of expanding broadband access to unserved and under-served areas of North Carolina.

For more information on broadband issues, please contact NCACC Legislative Counsel Adam Pridemore (mailto:adam.pridemore@ncacc.org) .

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