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 preparing, updating, and publishing a state broadband plan; serving as a repository for information relating to broadband service and digital connectivity in Texas and engaging in community outreach; creating, annually updating, and publishing a broadband development map to classify areas in Texas as eligible for broadband expansion assistance; and establishing a broadband development program to award grants, low‑interest loans, and other financial incentives to applicants in the areas classified as eligible for assistance on the map for the purpose of broadband expansion. The bill establishes the broadband development account within the general revenue fund as a source of funding for the broadband development office.
House Bill 5 revises provisions relating to the governor's broadband development council to change the council's composition, provide for the alternation of the position of chair and vice chair between members that are from urban and rural counties, increase transparency regarding council meetings, provide for the council's meetings to be held remotely, and expand the council's duties.
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.
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In 2015, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 855, which requires state agencies to publish a list of the three most commonly used Web browsers on their websites. The Texas Comptroller’s most commonly used Web browsers are Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Apple Safari.