Update on MN Office of Broadband Development – keep it in DEED, less money

Yesterday I reported an update on the Office of Broadband Development as was reported at the Minnesota Broadband Task Force meeting. In short, the proposal had been modified to move the Office to DEED and maintain a budget of $1 million over two years.

Late last night, the  Jobs and Economic Development Finance conference committee adopted the Office of Broadband Development language to be sent to the floor for a full vote.

They placed the Office under DEED’s jurisdiction and the decide that the director will be appointed by the governor. The office is slated for $250,000 per year (and admin support).

I’ll paste the pertinent info from the bill below

The Budget Info:

(o) $250,000 each year is from the general
7.16fund for the Broadband Development Office.

27.26   Subd. 4.Administrative Services

28.8$100,000 each year is for the support of
28.9broadband development.

And description…

77.8    Subdivision 1. Definitions. (a) For the purposes of this section, the following terms
77.9have the meanings given them.
77.10(b) “Broadband” or “broadband service” means any service providing advanced
77.11telecommunications capability and Internet access with transmission speeds that, at a
77.12minimum, meet the Federal Communications Commission definition for broadband.
77.13(c) “Local unit of government” has the meaning given in section 116G.03,
77.14subdivision 3.
77.15(d) “Office” means the Office of Broadband Development established in subdivision
77.162, paragraph (a).
77.17    Subd. 2. Office established; purpose. (a) An Office of Broadband Development is
77.18established within the Department of Employment and Economic Development and shall
77.19remain in existence until the commissioner certifies that the state has met the broadband
77.20goals established in section 237.012. The director shall be appointed by the governor and
77.21shall serve in the unclassified service. The director must be qualified by experience and
77.22training in broadband. The office may employ staff necessary to carry out the office’s
77.23duties under subdivision 4.
77.24(b) The purpose of the office is to encourage, foster, develop, and improve broadband
77.25within the state in order to:
77.26(1) drive job creation, promote innovation, and expand markets for Minnesota
77.28(2) serve the ongoing and growing needs of Minnesota’s education systems, health
77.29care system, public safety system, industries and businesses, governmental operations,
77.30and citizens; and
77.31(3) improve accessibility for underserved communities and populations.
77.32    Subd. 3. Organization. The office shall consist of a director of the Office of
77.33Broadband Development, as well as any staff necessary to carry out the office’s duties
77.34under subdivision 4.
77.35    Subd. 4. Duties. (a) The office shall have the power and duty to:
78.1(1) serve as the central broadband planning body for the state of Minnesota;
78.2(2) coordinate with state, regional, local, and private entities to develop, to the
78.3maximum extent practicable, a uniform statewide broadband access and usage policy;
78.4(3) develop, recommend, and implement a statewide plan to encourage cost-effective
78.5broadband access, and to make recommendations for increased usage, particularly in
78.6rural and other underserved areas;
78.7(4) coordinate efforts, in consultation and cooperation with the commissioner of
78.8commerce, local units of government, and private entities, to meet the state’s broadband
78.9goals in section 237.012;
78.10(5) develop, coordinate, and implement the state’s broadband infrastructure
78.11development program under section 116J.999;
78.12(6) provide consultation services to local units of government or other project
78.13sponsors in connection with the planning, acquisition, improvement, construction, or
78.14development of any broadband deployment project;
78.15(7) encourage public-private partnerships to increase deployment and adoption
78.16of broadband services and applications, including recommending funding options and
78.17possible incentives to encourage investment in broadband expansion;
78.18(8) monitor the broadband development efforts of other states and nations in areas
78.19such as business, education, public safety, and health;
78.20(9) consult with the commissioner of commerce to monitor broadband-related
78.21activities at the federal level, including regulatory and policy changes and the potential
78.22impact on broadband deployment and sustainability in the state;
78.23(10) serve as an information clearinghouse for federal programs providing financial
78.24assistance to institutions located in rural areas seeking to obtain access to high-speed
78.25broadband service, and use this information as an outreach tool to make institutions
78.26located in rural areas that are unserved or underserved with respect to broadband service
78.27aware of the existence of federal assistance;
78.28(11) provide logistical and administrative support for the Governor’s Broadband
78.29Task Force;
78.30(12) provide an annual report, as required by subdivision 5;
78.31(13) coordinate an ongoing collaborative effort of stakeholders to evaluate and
78.32address security, vulnerability, and redundancy issues in order to ensure the reliability of
78.33broadband networks; and
78.34(14) perform any other activities consistent with the office’s purpose.
79.1(b) In carrying out its duties under this subdivision, the Office of Broadband
79.2Development shall have no authority to regulate or compel action on the part of any
79.3provider of broadband service.
79.4    Subd. 5. Reporting. (a) Beginning January 15, 2014, and each year thereafter,
79.5the Office of Broadband Development shall report to the legislative committees with
79.6jurisdiction over broadband policy and finance on the office’s activities during the previous
79.8(b) The report shall contain, at a minimum:
79.9(1) an analysis of the current availability and use of broadband, including average
79.10broadband speeds, within the state;
79.11(2) information gathered from schools, libraries, hospitals, and public safety facilities
79.12across the state, determining the actual speed and capacity of broadband currently in use
79.13and the need, if any, for increases in speed and capacity to meet current or anticipated needs;
79.14(3) an analysis of incumbent broadband infrastructure within the state and its ability
79.15to spur economic development;
79.16(4) an analysis of the degree to which new, additional, or improved broadband
79.17infrastructure would spur economic development in the state;
79.18(5) a summary of the office’s activities in coordinating broadband infrastructure
79.19development under section 116J.999;
79.20(6) suggested policies, incentives, and legislation designed to accelerate the
79.21achievement of the goals under section 237.012, subdivisions 1 and 2;
79.22(7) any proposed legislative and policy initiatives; and
79.23(8) any other information requested by the legislative committees with jurisdiction
79.24over broadband policy and finance, or that the office deems necessary.
79.25(c) The report may be submitted electronically and is subject to section 3.195,
79.26subdivision 1.
79.27EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment.

79.30    Subdivision 1. Definitions. (a) For the purposes of this section, the following terms
79.31have the meanings given them.
79.32(b) “Broadband” or “broadband service” has the meaning given in section 116J.998,
79.33subdivision 1, paragraph (b).
79.34(c) “Broadband conduit” means a conduit, pipe, innerduct, or microduct for fiber
79.35optic or other cables that support broadband and wireless facilities for broadband service.
80.1(d) “Local unit of government” has the meaning given in section 116G.03,
80.2subdivision 3.
80.3(e) “Office” means the Office of Broadband Development established in section
80.5    Subd. 2. Broadband infrastructure development. (a) The office shall, in
80.6collaboration with the Department of Transportation and private entities, encourage and
80.7coordinate “dig once” efforts for the planning, relocation, installation, or improvement of
80.8broadband conduit within the right-of-way in conjunction with any current or planned
80.9construction, including, but not limited to, trunk highways and bridges. To the extent
80.10necessary, the office shall, in collaboration with the Department of Transportation,
80.11evaluate engineering and design standards, procedures and criteria for contracts or lease
80.12agreements with private entities, and pricing requirements, and provide for allocation
80.13of risk, costs, and any revenue generated.
80.14(b) The office shall, in collaboration with other state departments and agencies as the
80.15office deems necessary, develop a strategy to facilitate the timely and efficient deployment
80.16of broadband conduit or other broadband facilities on state-owned lands and buildings.
80.17(c) To the extent practicable, the office shall encourage and assist local units of
80.18government to adopt and implement policies similar to those under paragraphs (a) and (b)
80.19for construction or other improvements to county state-aid highways, municipal state-aid
80.20roads, and any other rights-of-way under the local unit of government’s jurisdiction, and to
80.21other lands or buildings owned by the local unit of government.
80.22(d) Special consideration must be paid to projects under this subdivision that will
80.23likely improve access to broadband by rural or underserved communities.
80.24    Subd. 3. Reporting. As part of its annual report under section 116J.998, subdivision
80.255, the office shall report on activities taken under this section, including, but not limited to,
80.26the number of current and planned projects using the “dig once” approach, any gains in
80.27broadband speed or access associated with the project, and any costs or cost savings to
80.28the state, private entity, or end user of broadband services.
80.29    Subd. 4. No right of action. Nothing in this section shall be construed to create
80.30any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any
80.31party against the state of Minnesota; its departments, agencies, or entities; its officers,
80.32employees, or agents; or any other person.
80.33EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment.

83.2    Subdivision 1. Purpose. The purpose of the fiber collaboration database is
83.3to provide broadband providers with advance notice of upcoming Department of
83.4Transportation construction projects so that they may notify the department of their
83.5interest in installing broadband infrastructure within the right-of-way during construction
83.6in order to minimize installation costs.
83.7    Subd. 2. Database. (a) The Department of Transportation shall post on its Web site,
83.8and update annually, the list of upcoming construction projects contained in its statewide
83.9transportation improvement program, including, for each project:
83.10(1) the geographical location where construction will occur;
83.11(2) the estimated start and end dates of construction; and
83.12(3) a description of the nature of the construction project.
83.13(b) The commissioner shall post the information required in paragraph (a) as far in
83.14advance of the beginning of construction as is feasible.
83.15(c) The department’s Web site must allow a provider of broadband service to register
83.16to receive from the department electronic information on proposed construction projects
83.17added to the database in specific geographical areas of the state as soon as it is updated.
83.18EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment.

92.19The Office of Broadband Development shall conduct research and produce a report
92.20recommending a set of programs and strategies the state can pursue to promote the
92.21improvement, more efficient and effective use, and expansion of broadband services in
92.22ways that will have the greatest impact on the state’s economic development, by which is
92.23meant enhancing the ability of Minnesota citizens and businesses to develop their skills,
92.24to expand businesses to new markets, develop new products, reach more customers, and
92.25lower costs. While the state’s broadband goals in Minnesota Statutes, section 237.012,
92.26address the universal provision of greater broadband access and speed statewide, this report
92.27must consider broadband as an economic development tool and must examine and analyze:
92.28(1) how the state can best use its limited resources to adopt strategies and make
92.29investments to improve the use of broadband services by subgroups of broadband users,
92.30including mobile broadband users, that promise to deliver the greatest economic impact
92.31per dollar of state investment;
92.32(2) roles the state can play in addition to financial assistance for broadband
92.33infrastructure, including supporting education and training for Minnesotans to enable
92.34them to use broadband more effectively; and
93.1(3) strategies and opportunities for state investment to leverage additional amounts
93.2of private capital and financial assistance from the federal government in order to achieve
93.3these goals.
93.4By January 15, 2014, the office shall submit the report to the chairs and ranking minority
93.5members of the senate and house of representatives committees with jurisdiction over
93.6broadband issues.
93.7EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment.

This entry was posted in MN, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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