California broadband policy bills await action in August

by Steve Blum • , , , ,

Right after summer break.

Other than the yet-to-be-defined regulatory reform package aimed at overhauling the California Public Utilities Commission, only a handful of telecoms-related bills will remain on the table when the California legislature returns from its month long summer break in August.

Assembly bill 2570 would make it harder for people receiving lifeline telephone subsidies to switch plans by setting a two month waiting period and would require the CPUC to reimburse phone companies relatively quickly or pay penalties. It started out as a wireless-only measure, but now includes all types of lifeline phone service. It’s carried by assemblyman Bill Quirk (D – Hayward) who has done big favors for both wireline and wireless phone companies in the past.

AB 2746, by assemblyman Jay Obernolte (R – Hesperia) nudges the CPUC further into the 21st century by requiring it to accept electronically signed documents, rather than insisting on wet signatures on dead trees.

AB 1549 is still on track . It would require Caltrans to include conduit when it does road construction and generally cooperate with broadband projects, both public and private. The bill’s author is assemblyman Jim Wood (D – Healdsburg). Full disclosure: I’ve helped to write AB 1549 and move it along.

All three bills are headed to what could be the a final hearing, in front of the senate appropriations committee in August.

Senate bill 745, by senator Ben Hueso (D – San Diego) gives a four year extension to a program that subsidises broadband facilities in public housing. It’s similarly moving toward the assembly appropriations committee next month.