FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kirsten Voinis
(512) 922-7141 or [email protected]
TEXAS CABLE COMPANIES APPLAUD NEW BROADBAND EXPANSION LAWS
The Texas Cable Association (TCA) and its five member cable providers applaud the signing into law of two bills to expand broadband access – House Bill 5 and House Bill 1505.
The following statement can be attributed to TCA President Walt Baum:
“Texas has taken a huge step toward expanding vital broadband access for Texans across the state now that Gov. Abbott has signed into law House Bill 5 and House Bill 1505. The Texas Cable Association and our five member cable companies are proud to have worked with state leadership and legislators to pass these important measures. We will continue to support implementation of these laws and will work with legislators to make sure they are fully funded in order to be successful. The laws will complement existing programs and investment by cable operators to get more individuals online.”
House Bill 5:
☑️ Creates the Broadband Development Office within the Comptroller’s Office. The office will:
Prepare a state broadband plan that establishes goals for greater access and adoption of broadband service.
Create a broadband development map classifying each designated area in the state as eligible (fewer than 80% of addresses with access to broadband) or ineligible (more than 80% access to broadband).
☑️ Establishes a Broadband Development Account in the general revenue fund. The account would consist of legislative appropriations, gifts and grants, and federal money received by the state for broadband development. The Broadband Office would award grants, low-interest loans, and other financial incentives for the purpose of expanding access to and adoption of broadband service in eligible areas.
☑️ Protects funding distributed through the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF).
☑️ Prevents overbuilding.
☑️ Limits grants to unserved areas only and establishes a challenge process for grants.
House Bill 1505:
☑️ Strengthens the framework that governs the relationship between electric cooperatives and cable operators and improves the path to courts if there are disputes in reaching those agreements.
☑️ Gives broadband providers nondiscriminatory access to electric cooperative poles and clarifies some of the terms by which a broadband provider obtains this access.
☑️ Creates the Broadband Pole Replacement Fund. The Fund is open to parties ultimately responsible for paying pole replacement costs in areas served by all pole owners in the state, including electric cooperatives and investor or municipal owned utilities. Providers will be eligible to apply for reimbursements for a portion of the costs of pole replacements that are necessary to get broadband service to customers in unserved areas.
Cable broadband in Texas:
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TCA (www.txcable.com) has been the primary trade organization for cable operators in Texas since 1960. Members include Altice USA, Charter Communications, Comcast, Sparklight and Vyve Broadband. Follow TCA’s activities on Facebook (www.facebook.com/texascable) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/texascable).