House Bill 5 and House Bill 1505 were passed during the 87th Legislative Session, Regular Session.
House Bill 5 (PDF) amends the Government Code to provide for the expansion of broadband Internet service in Texas. The bill establishes the broadband development office within the office of the comptroller of public accounts and tasks the broadband development office with
The bill establishes the broadband development account within the general revenue fund as a source of funding for the broadband development office.
On Sept. 23, 2022, the BDO published proposed rules 34 TAC §§16.30 - 16.46 to administer the Texas Broadband Development Program for the purpose of expanding broadband access in the state. Over the following 30 days, the BDO received more than 200 comments from the public, political subdivisions, broadband providers and nonprofits. The BDO also held a virtual public hearing in December 2022 on the proposed rules to ensure all feedback and input was considered. The rules adoption from the BDO was filed with the Secretary of State on Jan. 30, 2023. The effective rules can be viewed on the Texas Administrative Code.
House Bill 1505 (PDF) amends the Government Code and Utilities Code to establish a modernized pole attachment regime that applies to Texas' electric cooperatives and promotes consistency, transparency, and fairness in the deployment of broadband service while ensuring consistency with FCC rules and regulations for investor‑owned utilities through which a broadband provider may apply for and receive access to a pole owned and controlled by an electric cooperative for purposes of attaching an affixture of cables, strands, wires, and associated equipment used in the provision of a broadband provider's services. Among other provisions, the bill establishes the Texas Broadband Pole Replacement Program to speed the deployment of broadband services to individuals in rural areas by reimbursing a portion of eligible pole replacement costs incurred by pole owners or providers of qualifying broadband services. The bill creates the broadband pole replacement fund to be used solely to support the program and requires the comptroller of public accounts to make a one‑time transfer to the fund from money received by the state from the federal government from the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund.
Read the Texas Broadband Plan.
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