Unofficial Draft Copy
67th Legislature LC 2670
1 _____________ BILL NO. _____________
2 INTRODUCED BY _________________________________________________
(Primary Sponsor)
3
4 A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: “AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A MONTANA BROADBAND COORDINATOR;
5 PROVIDING DUTIES; PROVIDING AN APPROPRIATION; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE AND A
6 TERMINATION DATE.”
7
8 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
9
10 NEW SECTION. Section 1. Department of commerce broadband coordinator. (1) There is a
11 broadband coordinator within the department of commerce.
12 (2) The duties of the broadband coordinator are as follows:
13 (a) to examine the role of the Montana universal service fund in bringing comparable and affordable
14 broadband service to rural residents and make recommendations to the public service commission and the
15 legislature;
16 (b) to create detailed maps of broadband coverage and speeds in order to accurately pinpoint
17 remaining gaps in broadband availability in the state;
18 (c) to survey other states and make recommendations on the definitions of the terms "unserved",
19 "underserved", and "low-service area" for the discussion of broadband in the state;
20 (d) to survey other states and make recommendations regarding minimum broadband speed
21 standards in the state;
22 (e) to identify opportunities and potential funding sources to expand broadband infrastructure and
23 increase statewide access to broadband services. Funding sources may include but are not limited to federal
24 grants.
25 (f) to survey broadband efforts in other states, especially rural efforts, and make recommendations to
26 the governor and the legislature;
27 (g) to identify barriers to residential and commercial broadband deployment in unserved areas;
28 (h) to identify and review new communication technologies or alternative communication technologies
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Unofficial Draft Copy
67th Legislature LC 2670
1 that may help serve rural communities;
2 (i) to research and make recommendations for specific eligibility criteria and application requirements
3 for any grant program developed using state funds. These eligibility criteria and application requirements must
4 be developed after hearing from all stakeholders and provide greater weight to applicants that will provide
5 internet service to unserved homes, followed by underserved homes.
6 (j) to identify grant-matching opportunities which may be required for local governments to receive
7 federal broadband grants;
8 (k) to identify and help coordinate public-private partnership opportunities;
9 (l) to coordinate and assist with an interim study of broadband service;
10 (m) to coordinate broadband efforts among various stakeholder groups, including agency efforts and
11 tribal efforts;
12 (n) to perform any additional duty authorized by the legislature; and
13 (o) to draft a plan based on recommendations related to the above considerations and present that
14 plan to the legislature and the governor prior to January 1, 2023.
15
16 NEW SECTION. Section 2. Appropriation. (1) There is appropriated $300,000 from the state
17 general fund to the department of commerce for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022, for the purposes
18 described in [section 1].
19 (2) The appropriation must be used to pay for the salary of the broadband coordinator and to
20 complete the research and studies as provided in [section 1].
21
22 NEW SECTION. Section 3. Codification instruction. [Section 1] is intended to be codified as an
23 integral part of Title 2, chapter 15, and the provisions of Title 2, chapter 15 apply to [section 1].
24
25 NEW SECTION. Section 4. Effective date. [This act] is effective July 1, 2021.
26
27 NEW SECTION. Section 5. Termination. [This act] terminates December 31, 2022.
28 - END -
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