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h_agr_2018a_2018-03-05t13:32:42z0 Hearing Summary




PUBLIC
BILL SUMMARY For SB18-002

HOUSE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE, LIVESTOCK, & NATURAL RESOURCES
Date Mar 5, 2018      
Location RM 271



SB18-002 - Committee Discussion Only


01:32:55 PM  
Speaker Duran and Majority Leader Becker,
co-prime sponsors, presented Senate Bill 18-002, concerning the financing
of broadband deployment.  Under current law, the Public Uitlities
Commission (PUC) provides financial assistance to telecommunications (telecom)
companies providing basic landline service in rural areas.  This assistance
is funded through a provider surcharge assessed on voice sercice and allocated
to the High Cost Support Mechanism (HCSM), a TABOR-exempt fund administered
by the PUC and held outside state government.  The introduced version
of the bill phases in a reallocation of HCSM funds, away from supporting
high cost landline infrastructure to supporting high cost broadband infrastructure.
 The bill also requires HCSM broadband deployment  grant applications
approved by the board to have funds transferred directly from the HCSM
to grant recipients and prohibits the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA)
from implementing broadband deployment programs or approving any grant
application concerning broadband deployment unless the board has determined
that the program or application does not involve the same or a duplicate
of any projects already approved and funded.
01:37:39 PM  
The following people testified on the bill:
01:38:21 PM  
Drew Davis, Larimer County, testified in opposition to the bill.
01:44:54 PM  

Eric Bergman, Colorado Counties Inc., testified on the bill and discussed his concerns with possible amendments to the bill.

01:50:41 PM  

Kevin Bommer, Colorado Municipal League, testified in support of the bill and discussed possible amendments to the bill. Mr. Bommer responded to questions from the committee.

01:54:37 PM  

Mr. Bergman and Mr. Bommer responded to questions from the committee.

01:59:02 PM  

Kent Singer, Colorado Rural Electric Association, testified in support of the bill and provided background on Colorado rural electric co-ops and the need for broadband service in rural areas.

02:01:14 PM  
Mark Kurtz, Delta Montrose Electric Association (DMEA), Elevate Fiber, testified in support of the bill and discussed the DMEA and the customers of DMEA. He also discussed the importance of broadband for students in rural Colorado and discussed other priorities of DMEA. Mr. Kurtz responded to questions from the committee.
02:08:57 PM  
Stephanie Copeland, Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), testified in support of the bill and discussed potential amendments to the bill. Ms. Copeland stated that the Governor's goal is to have Colorado 100 percent covered by broadband service by 2020 and that this bill is a step towards that goal. Ms. Copeland responded to questions from the committee regarding census blocks and broadband service. Ms. Copeland distributed a map displaying broadband service in southwestern Colorado based on census numbers [Attachment A].
02:18:04 PM  
Jordan Beezley, Broadband Deployment Director, Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), was present for questions only. He responded to questions from the committee regarding enforcement of grant recipients in providing services laid out in grant applications.
02:25:56 PM  

Jack Johnston, Southeast Colorado Power Association and Southeast Communications (SECOM), testified in support of the bill with possible amendments.

02:30:12 PM  
Tom Sifers, Mountain Parks Electric Co-op, testified in support of the bill, with possible amendments.
02:32:25 PM  
Mr. Johnston responded to questions from the committee regarding fiberoptic technologies and fixed wireless technologies.
02:36:40 PM  
Jeffery Heard, DEMEA, Elevate Fiber, testified in support of the bill and discussed the composition of the Broadband Deployment Board.
02:41:02 PM  
Jarrod Nixon, representing himself, testified in support of the bill.
02:42:26 PM  
Mr. Heard responded to questions from the committee regarding the composition of the Broadband Deployment Board.
02:45:24 PM  
Sarah Blackhurst, Action 22, testified in support of the bill.
02:48:47 PM  
Dr. Chris Davis, University Hospital and UC Health Telecom, testified in support of the bill.
02:51:03 PM  
Ms. Blackhurst responded to questions from the committee regarding the counties that Action 22 serves and the business model of Rye Telephone, which provides fiberoptic broadband directly to homes in Rye County. Dr. Davis also responded to questions from the committee regarding tele-medicine service in rural areas.
02:56:49 PM  
Bill Levis, AARP, testified in neutral position on the bill.
03:00:35 PM  

Jeff Weist, Colorado Cable Television Association, testified in support of the bill.

03:02:42 PM  

Pete Kirchof, Colorado Technology Association, testified in support of the reengrossed version of the bill, as it passed the Senate. Mr. Kirchof responded to questions from the committee.

03:11:02 PM  

Tim Kunkleman, CenturyLink, testified in a neutral position on the bill, with possible amendments.

03:15:29 PM  
Tim Goodwin, CenturyLink, testified in a neutral position on the bill. Mr. Goodwin responded to questions from the committee regarding CenturyLink's cost and price of broadband service.
03:21:26 PM  
Mr. Kunkleman and Goodwin continued to respond to questions from the committee.
03:42:35 PM  
Emily Ibach, Colorado Farm Bureau, testified in support of the bill.
03:44:59 PM  
Representative Arndt closed the testimony phase.
03:45:54 PM  
Majority Leader Becker responded to comments made regarding the HCSM.
03:49:46 PM  
Speaker Duran also made comments regarding the bill and discussed amendments that were referenced in testimony. Committee discussion ensued.
03:51:54 PM  
Representative Arndt laid the bill over until March 12, 2017.