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The Florida Statutes

The 2020 Florida Statutes

Title XXVII
RAILROADS AND OTHER REGULATED UTILITIES
Chapter 364
TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANIES
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F.S. 364.0135
364.0135 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 the state and is beneficial for libraries, schools, colleges and universities, health care providers, and community organizations.
(2) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Department” means the Department of Economic Opportunity.
(b) “Office” means the Florida Office of Broadband.
(c) “Sustainable adoption” means the ability for communications service providers to offer broadband services in all areas of the state by encouraging adoption and utilization levels that allow for these services to be offered in the free market absent the need for governmental subsidy.
(d) “Underserved” means a geographic area of the 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 10 megabits per second downstream and at least 1 megabit per second upstream.
(3) STATE AGENCY.The department is designated as the lead state agency to facilitate the expansion of broadband Internet service in the 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 the 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 the use of broadband Internet service in the state. The plan must include a process to review and verify public input regarding transmission speeds and availability of broadband Internet service throughout the 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.
(c) Encourage the use of broadband Internet service, especially in the rural, unserved, or underserved communities of the 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 in primarily underserved areas by removing barriers to entry.
3. Work toward encouraging investments in establishing affordable and sustainable broadband Internet service in underserved areas of the 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 the state.
(d) 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 the state as necessary to ensure that this information is accurately presented and that rural, unserved, and underserved areas of the state are best positioned to benefit from federal and state broadband deployment programs.
(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.
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.