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HB21-1289

Funding For Broadband Deployment

Concerning broadband deployment, and, in connection therewith, codifying the Colorado broadband office in the office of information technology; creating the digital inclusion grant program, the broadband stimulus grant program, and the interconnectivity grant program; and making an appropriation.
Session:
2021 Regular Session
Subject:
Telecommunications & Information Technology
Bill Summary



Section 1 of the act declares the general assembly's intent to spend a portion of the money received by the state under the federal "American Rescue Plan Act" for broadband infrastructure and telehealth capabilities.

Sections 2 and 3 extend the grant award distribution and reporting dates for the connecting Colorado students grant program.

Section 6 requires the office of information technology (office) to:

  • Enter into an agreement with a third-party vendor to develop and implement a strategic plan to expand and improve digital access to government services through the use of broadband;
  • Consult with various stakeholders in developing the strategic plan; and
  • On or before July 1, 2022, report to the joint technology committee on the development and implementation of the strategic plan.


Section 7 establishes the Colorado broadband office (broadband office) in the office as a statutory type 1 entity. Section 7 also creates the digital inclusion grant program fund and directs the state treasurer to transfer $35 million from the economic recovery and relief cash fund to the fund for use by the broadband office to implement the digital inclusion grant program to award grant money to proposed broadband deployment projects throughout the state. Grant recipients other than Indian tribe or nation recipients are prohibited from using the grant money for last-mile broadband deployment. Section 7 also defines "community anchor institution" in relation to grants awarded through the digital inclusion grant program.
Section 4 requires the chief information officer in the office to appoint a director of the broadband office. Section 5 aligns the bill with House Bill 21-1236. Section 16 provides that section 5 only becomes effective if House Bill 21-1236 is enacted.

Section 8 defines "community anchor institution", "critically unserved", "income-qualified plan", and "school" in relation to grants awarded by the broadband deployment board (board) for proposed broadband deployment projects throughout the state.

Section 9 creates the broadband stimulus grant program (grant program) and requires the board to implement the grant program by awarding grant money from the broadband stimulus account created in the broadband administrative fund. The state treasurer is directed to transfer $35 million from the economic recovery and relief cash fund to the account for this grant program. The board is encouraged to award money under the grant program to applicants that previously applied for broadband deployment grants from the board but were denied due to insufficient funding. An applicant seeking money under the grant program must submit an income-qualified plan to the board.

Section 11 declares that high-speed broadband plays a critical role in enhancing local government and community development efforts and encourages coordinated approaches, including public-private partnerships, to broadband planning.

Section 12 defines terms related to the work of the division of local government in the department of local affairs (division) in deploying broadband, including "broadband facility" and "last-mile broadband infrastructure".

Section 13 requires the division to submit a copy of any application it receives for broadband deployment grant money to the broadband office for review. The broadband office must complete its review and provide the division with any recommendation regarding the application within 30 days after the division sends the copy to the broadband office.

Section 13 also creates the interconnectivity grant program and requires the division to implement the grant program by awarding grant money for proposed projects that seek to achieve regional broadband deployment and provide interconnection between communities. Projects awarded money under this grant program, except for projects awarded to Indian tribes or nations, cannot use the money awarded for last-mile broadband deployment. To finance the grant program, section 13 also creates the interconnectivity grant program fund into which the state treasurer is directed to transfer $5 million from the economic recovery and relief cash fund.

Section 14 appropriates:

  • $35 million from the digital inclusion grant program fund to the office for use by the broadband office to implement the digital inclusion grant program;
  • $35 million from the broadband stimulus account in the broadband administrative fund to the department of regulatory agencies for use by the board to implement the broadband stimulus grant program; and
  • $5 million from the interconnectivity grant program fund to the department of local affairs for use by the division to implement the interconnectivity grant program.


Sections 10 and 15 align the bill with House Bill 21-1109, which moves the board from the department of regulatory agencies to the office. Section 16 provides that sections 10 and 15 only become effective if House Bill 21-1109 is enacted. Section 16 provides that sections 8, 9, and 14 only become effective if House Bill 21-1109 is not enacted. Section 16 also provides that the act only becomes effective if Senate Bill 21-291, which creates the economic recovery and relief cash fund, is enacted.

(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)

Status

Introduced
Passed
Became Law

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Bill Text

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