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The Florida Statutes

The 2021 Florida Statutes

Title XIX
PUBLIC BUSINESS
Chapter 288
COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS
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F.S. 288.9961
288.9961 Promotion of broadband adoption; Florida Office of Broadband.
(1) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.The Legislature finds that the sustainable adoption of broadband Internet service is critical to the economic and business development of this state and is essential for all residents of this state, libraries, schools, colleges and universities, health care providers, and community organizations.
(2) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Broadband Internet service” means a service that offers a connection to the Internet with a capacity for transmission at a consistent speed of at least 25 megabits per second downstream and 3 megabits per second upstream.
(b) “Department” means the Department of Economic Opportunity.
(c) “Deployed” means that a broadband service provider meets either of the following:
1. Currently provides broadband Internet service in a specific geographic area; or
2. Is able to provide broadband Internet service in a specific geographic area to a customer that requests that service not later than 30 days after the customer requests installation of that service and without an extraordinary commitment of resources or construction charges or fees exceeding an ordinary service activation fee. The 30-day time period shall be extended to 60 days if permits are needed before the broadband Internet service is installed and activated.
(d) “Office” means the Florida Office of Broadband.
(e) “Sustainable adoption” means the ability for communications service providers to offer broadband services in all areas of this state by encouraging adoption and use levels that allow for these services to be offered in the free market absent the need for governmental subsidy.
(f) “Underserved” means a geographic area of this state in which there is no provider of broadband Internet service that offers a connection to the Internet with a capacity for transmission at a consistent speed of at least 100 megabits per second downstream and at least 10 megabits per second upstream.
(g) “Unserved” means a geographic area of this state in which there is no provider of broadband Internet service.
(3) STATE AGENCY.The department is designated as the lead state agency to facilitate the expansion of broadband Internet service in this state. The department shall work collaboratively with private businesses and receive staffing support and other resources from Enterprise Florida, Inc., state agencies, local governments, and community organizations.
(4) FLORIDA OFFICE OF BROADBAND.The Florida Office of Broadband is created within the Division of Community Development in the department for the purpose of developing, marketing, and promoting broadband Internet services in this state. The office, in the performance of its duties, shall do all of the following:
(a) Create a strategic plan that has goals and strategies for increasing and improving the availability of, access to, and use of broadband Internet service in this state. In development of the plan, the department shall incorporate applicable federal broadband activities, including any efforts or initiatives of the Federal Communications Commission, to improve broadband Internet service in this state. The plan must identify available federal funding sources for the expansion or improvement of broadband. The strategic plan must be submitted to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by June 30, 2022. The strategic plan must be updated biennially thereafter. The plan must include a process to review and verify public input regarding transmission speeds and availability of broadband Internet service throughout this state.
(b) Build and facilitate local technology planning teams or partnerships with members representing cross-sections of the community, which may include, but are not limited to, representatives from the following organizations and industries: libraries, K-12 education, colleges and universities, local health care providers, private businesses, community organizations, economic development organizations, local governments, tourism, parks and recreation, and agriculture. The local technology planning teams or partnerships shall work with rural communities to help the communities understand their current broadband availability, locate unserved and underserved businesses and residents, identify assets relevant to broadband deployment, build partnerships with broadband service providers, and identify opportunities to leverage assets and reduce barriers to the deployment of broadband Internet services in the community. The teams or partnerships must be proactive in fiscally constrained counties in identifying and providing assistance with applying for federal grants for broadband Internet service.
(c) Provide technical and planning assistance to rural communities.
(d) Encourage the use of broadband Internet service, especially in the rural, unserved, or underserved communities of this state through grant programs having effective strategies to facilitate the statewide deployment of broadband Internet service. For any grants to be awarded, priority must be given to projects that:
1. Provide access to broadband education, awareness, training, access, equipment, and support to libraries, schools, colleges and universities, health care providers, and community support organizations.
2. Encourage the sustainable adoption of broadband Internet service in primarily underserved areas by removing barriers to entry.
3. Work toward encouraging investments in establishing affordable and sustainable broadband Internet service in unserved areas of this state.
4. Facilitate the development of applications, programs, and services, including, but not limited to, telework, telemedicine, and e-learning to increase the usage of, and demand for, broadband Internet service in this state.
(e) Monitor, participate in, and provide input in proceedings of the Federal Communications Commission and other federal agencies related to the geographic availability and deployment of broadband Internet service in this state as necessary to ensure that this information is accurately presented and that rural, unserved, and underserved areas of this state are best positioned to benefit from federal and state broadband deployment programs.
(f) Administer the Broadband Opportunity Program established in s. 288.9962.
(5) ADMINISTRATION.The department may:
(a) Apply for and accept federal funds for purposes of this section.
(b) Enter into contracts necessary or useful to carry out the purposes of this section.
(c) Establish any committee or workgroup to administer and carry out the purposes of this section.
(d) Adopt rules to implement this part.
History.s. 2, ch. 2009-226; s. 5, ch. 2011-36; s. 53, ch. 2012-116; s. 1, ch. 2012-131; s. 2, ch. 2020-26; s. 3, ch. 2021-24.
Note.Former s. 364.0135.