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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Title XIX
Chapter 288
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F.S. 288.9963
288.9963 Attachment of broadband facilities to municipal electric utility poles.
(1) The Legislature finds that there is a need for increased availability of broadband Internet access throughout this state, particularly in areas where citizens do not have access to acceptable Internet download and upload speeds, or any access at all. The lack of Internet connectivity and widespread broadband availability is detrimental to the growth of the economy, access to telehealth, and educational opportunities. The federal government has provided vast resources for private cable and other broadband providers to expand the deployment of broadband Internet infrastructure in areas where Internet access and broadband Internet services are inadequate or nonexistent.
(2) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Broadband provider” means a person or entity who provides fixed broadband Internet service.
(b) “Broadband service” means a service that provides high speed access to the Internet at a rate of at least 25 megabits per second in the downstream direction and at least 3 megabits per second in the upstream direction.
(c) “Safety and reliability standards” includes all applicable engineering, reliability, and safety standards governing the installation, maintenance, and operation of facilities and poles and the performance of all work in and around electric utility facilities, including particular utility standards made available to a broadband provider, and shall include the most current versions of the National Electric Safety Code, the National Electric Code, and the regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and other reasonable nondiscriminatory safety and engineering requirements, including, but not limited to requirements addressing overloading of electric utility facilities.
(d) “Underserved” means there is no retail access to the Internet at speeds of at least 25 megabits per seconds for downloading and 3 megabits per second for uploading.
(e) “Unserved” means that there is no retail access to the Internet at speeds of at least 10 megabits per seconds for downloading and 1 megabits per second for uploading.
(f) “Wireline attachment” means a wire or cable and associated equipment affixed to a utility pole in the communications space of the pole.
(3) Beginning July 1, 2021, a broadband provider shall receive a promotional rate of $1 per wireline attachment per pole per year for any new attachment necessary to make broadband service available to an unserved or underserved end user within a municipal electric utility service territory for the time period specified in this subsection.
(a) A broadband provider who wishes to make wireline attachments subject to the promotional rate shall submit an application, including a route map, to the municipal electric utility specifying which wireline attachments on which utility poles are necessary to extend broadband service to unserved and underserved end users and therefore qualify for the promotional rate set forth in this subsection, together with such information necessary to identify which unserved or underserved end users within the municipal electric utility’s service territory will gain access to broadband service as a result. A copy of the application and plan shall also be submitted simultaneously to the office.
(b) A municipal electric utility shall report to the office which attachments on which utility poles were made available to broadband providers subject to the promotional rate, together with any information available to it regarding which of its municipal electric utility customers do and do not have access to broadband service and whether they are unserved or underserved.
(c) A broadband provider who makes application for wireline attachments under the promotional rate shall make all reasonable efforts to make broadband service available to the unserved or underserved municipal electric utility customers identified in the application. If a broadband provider fails to make broadband service available to those customers within 12 months, it may be required to pay the prevailing rate for those attachments that failed to make broadband service available to the intended customers.
(d) Except as provided in this section, wireline attachments which are subject to the promotional rate must conform to all other terms and conditions of existing pole attachment agreements between the broadband provider and the municipal electric utility. If no agreement exists, the parties shall have 90 days to enter into a pole attachment agreement for all other terms and conditions of attachment.
(e) The promotional rate of $1 per wireline attachment per pole per year applies to all pole attachments made pursuant to this subsection until July 1, 2024.
(4) All wireline attachments must comply with safety and reliability standards; provided, however, wireline attachments and their replacements, which complied with safety and reliability standards when installed, do not need to be modified to comply with new requirements except as may be necessary for safety reasons, as reasonably determined by the municipal electric utility.
(5) If the municipal electric utility is required to replace a utility pole due to a broadband provider’s attachment, the municipal electric utility may require, as a condition to attachment, that the broadband provider reimburse all reasonable and nondiscriminatory costs attributable solely to the new attachment minus the salvage value of the removed pole, if positive. The municipal electric utility may not require a utility pole to be replaced to accommodate a broadband provider’s attachment except where necessary to comply with applicable engineering and safety standards. With respect to such replacement poles, if the replacement is necessary to correct an existing violation, to bring the pole into compliance with any changes in applicable standards, or because the pole is at the end of its useful life, the replacement cost may not be charged to the broadband provider. As used in this subsection, the term “useful life” means not less than 30 years for wood utility poles and 50 years for concrete, steel, ductile iron, and all other utility poles.
(6) A municipal electric utility may not increase the fees charged to broadband providers for pole attachments between July 1, 2021, and July 31, 2022.
History.s. 6, ch. 2021-24.