State of Washington61st Legislature2009 Regular Session

By House Finance (originally sponsored by Representatives Hudgins and McCoy)

READ FIRST TIME 03/03/09.   

     AN ACT Relating to broadband adoption and deployment; adding new sections to chapter 43.105 RCW; and creating a new section.


NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1   The legislature finds and declares the following:
     (1) The deployment and adoption of high-speed internet services and technology advancements enhances economic development and public safety for the state's communities, as well as offering improved health care and access to consumer and legal services, increased educational and civic participation opportunities, and a better quality of life for the state's residents.
     (2) Improvements in the deployment and adoption of high-speed internet services and the strategic inclusion of technology advancements and technology education are critical to ensuring that Washington remains competitive and continues to provide a skilled workforce, attract businesses, and stimulate job growth.
     (3) The state must encourage and support strategic partnerships of public, private, nonprofit, and community-based sectors in the continued growth and development of high-speed internet services and information technology for state residents and businesses. This includes ensuring digital inclusion in internet access, technology literacy, digital media literacy, and that all Washingtonians are able to obtain and utilize broadband fully, regardless of location, economic status, literacy level, age, disability, or the size of the business or nonprofit organization.
     (4) In light of the importance of broadband deployment and adoption to the economy, health, safety, and welfare of the people of Washington, it is essential the legislature create a broadband programs management structure to ensure development and implementation of statewide broadband strategies, with the ultimate goal of making high-speed internet service more readily available throughout the state, especially in areas with an uptake rate for high-speed internet below the state median.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2   A new section is added to chapter 43.105 RCW to read as follows:
     The department may continue the work of the high-speed internet strategy work group convened in 2008 by continuing to consult with representatives of telecommunications providers, technology companies, telecommunications unions, health care providers, community technology organizations, higher education, K-12 educators, and other relevant entities to implement high-speed internet deployment and adoption strategies, subject to available funding, that may include, but is not limited to:
     (1) Developing programs to provide low-income families with reduced cost internet access or programs to provide low-cost internet access to nonprofit entities as suggested in the K-20 program;
     (2) Securing additional funding for technology literacy, digital media literacy, and digital inclusion programs;
     (3) Identifying broadband demand opportunities in communities by working cooperatively with local organizations, government agencies, and businesses;
     (4) Developing last-mile technology loan programs targeting small businesses or businesses located in underserved areas; and
     (5) Establishing low-cost hardware, software, and internet purchasing programs such as including community technology organizations in state hardware and software purchasing programs.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3   A new section is added to chapter 43.105 RCW to read as follows:
     (1) The department may apply for and receive federal funding for the purposes of creating or supporting broadband adoption and deployment opportunities consistent with section 2 of this act.
     (2) The department is designated as the single eligible entity in the state to receive federal funding for purposes of the broadband data improvement act, P.L. 110-385.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4   A new section is added to chapter 43.105 RCW to read as follows:
     Subject to the availability of federal or state funding appropriated for this specific purpose, the department must track residential, nonprofit organization, and business adoption of high-speed internet, computers, and related information technology through publicly available sources and must work with communities to identify barriers to the adoption of broadband services and related information technology services by individuals, nonprofit organizations, and businesses.

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