Washington State With Explicit Roadblocks

  • Washington State With Explicit Roadblocks

    Posted by Michael on August 11, 2021 at 7:53 am

    Washington

    HB 1336 – 2021-22

    Creating and expanding unrestricted authority for public entities to provide telecommunications services to end users.

    In 2021, State Reps Drew Hansen, Alex Ybarra, R-Quincy, and a dozen other lawmakers introduced a bill (HB 1336) that would eliminate restrictions and expand community resources for the establishment for broadband networks.

    Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §54.16.330

    Washington state laws allow some municipalities to offer some communications services to residents, but bars public utilities from providing broadband service directly to customers. Instead, public utilities are allowed to sell or lease broadband infrastructure on a wholesale basis only, but such operations are subject to strict conditions. In 2018, state lawmakers passed legislation aimed expanding access to broadband for residents by enabling ports throughout the state to enter into public-private partnerships with private telecom companies to provide broadband to residents.

    However, amendments to the bill restricted such partnerships to just one telecom provider, thereby ensuring de-facto monopolies for broadband service in some communities.

    In 2019, state Sen. John McCoy (D) and others introduced legislation that would enable municipal governments to provide broadband services to residents, but limits such projects to areas where no other ISPs are currently operating.

    The bill stalled in committee in 2019, and was reintroduced in 2020, but did not pass. In 2021, State Reps Drew Hansen, Alex Ybarra, R-Quincy, and a dozen other lawmakers introduced a bill (HB 1336) that would eliminate restrictions and expand community resources for the establishment for broadband networks.

    According to a 2003 Attorney General Opinion, first class cities, code cities, and charter
    counties may provide telecommunications services as part of their “home rule powers,”
    except as may be limited by specific statutory language governing particular services.
    Second class cities and towns, however, do not have the authority to provide
    telecommunication services.
    Statewide Broadband Office.
    The stated purpose of the Governor’s Statewide Broadband Office (Office) is to encourage,
    foster, develop, and improve affordable, quality broadband to promote innovation, serve the
    growing needs of the state’s education, healthcare, and public safety systems, industries and
    business, governmental operations, and citizens, and improve broadband accessibility for
    unserved communities.
    The Office’s statutory speed goals are the following:
    by 2024, businesses and residences have access to minimum speeds of 25 megabits
    per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload;

    by 2026, communities have access to at least 1 gigabit per second symmetrical
    service at anchor institutions; and

    by 2028, businesses and residences have access to at least one provider with 150
    Mbps symmetrical service

    http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2021-22/Pdf/Bill%20Reports/House/1336-S.E%20HBR%20FBR%2021.pdf?q=20210811074740

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