The board is required to develop a reimbursement program to reimburse certain households for up to $600 per year for broadband service. A household is eligible to apply for reimbursement if the household:
- Includes children enrolled in grades K-12 who receive free or reduced-price lunch through a school's lunch program; or
- Has an income that does not exceed the higher of the federal poverty level or 30% of area median income.
The board is also required to develop a request for proposal process through which the board will solicit bids for proposed projects to serve areas of the state that the office of information technology has determined lack access to broadband service at measurable speeds of at least 10 megabits per second downstream and one megabit per second upstream. Each year, the board is required to reserve at least 50% of the money from the high cost support mechanism that is allocated for broadband deployment to award grants to proposed projects solicited through the request for proposal process.
Section 2 also limits the notice and comment period for a local entity's review of an application from 60 days to 30 days and removes provisions requiring the board to apply for specific types of federal funding because the board has completed those applications.
Section 2 further requires the public utilities commission, in consultation with the board, to:
- Adopt rules establishing speed testing protocols by which broadband grant applicants must abide; and
- Consider, on a biennial basis starting in 2023, whether to modify by rule the definitions of "broadband network" and "critically unserved" and certain aspects of the reimbursement program, including eligibility for reimbursement and the maximum amount of money that the board may annually reimburse a household.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)