Bill Summaries: H762 (2015-2016 Session)

  • Summary date: Apr 16 2015 - View summary

    Includes various whereas clauses concerning the provision of broadband services.

    States the General Assembly's findings on the barriers and provision of universal broadband access across North Carolina, including findings regarding technology and electricity needs.

    Directs the NC Utilities Commission (Commission) to issue requests for proposal to enter into contracts with as many firms or other entities in the network or telecommunications sectors as necessary to establish a statewide Universal Broadband Smart Meter Program (Program). Sets out required components of the program. Also requires the Commission to exercise oversight of the Program and contract once a firm is chosen. 

    Provides that it is the intent of the General Assembly that ongoing program costs will be funded by the electric public utilities based on the energy savings achieved through the implementation of the Program. Sets out provisions concerning this intent.

    Amends GS 160A-340.1(a), City-owned communications service provider requirements, deleting subdivisions (1), (3), and (5)-(9), concerning various limitations and regulations for the provision of communications services by cities.

    Repeals the following provisions:

    • GS Chapter 159, Article 9A, Borrowing by Cities for Competitive Purposes
    • GS 160A-340.3, Notice; public hearing
    • GS 160A-340.4, Financing
    • GS 160A-340.5, Taxes; payments in lieu of taxes
    • GS 160A-340.6, Public-private partnerships for communications service
    • GS 105-164.14(d2), concerning  refunds of certain sales and use taxes
    • GS 62-3(23)(l), the definition of a public utility as far as including a city or joint agency
    • SL 2011-84, Sections 2(b) and 5, concerning specified regulations for the provision of communications services

    Enacts GS 136-18(46), adding to the powers of the Department of Transportation (DOT), giving it the authority to construct conduits for telecommunication cable in state rights-of-way, with the costs of the construction covered through leasing of the conduit. Creates the Conduit Installation Account, a nonreverting account, within the Highway Trust Fund to receive revenues from conduit leasing. 

    Enacts GS 136-44.17, Installation of telecommunications conduit within State right-of-way, requiring the DOT to include the installation of the specified conduits in its planning for new roads and improvements to existing roads when certain conditions apply, including when less than 50% of households in a county where a new road project is located have access to high-speed data services. 

    Directs the DOT to report to the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee no later than May 1, 2016, and annually thereafter regarding the progress on installing telecommunications conduit as provided. Sets out details that the report must contain, including identification of any statutory or regulatory barriers to implementation.