An Act To Ensure Continued Availability of High-speed Broadband Internet at Maine's Schools and Libraries
Sec. 1. 35-A MRSA §7104-B, sub-§3, ¶A, as amended by PL 2011, c. 623, Pt. B, §21, is further amended to read:
Sec. 2. 35-A MRSA §7104-B, sub-§3, ¶B, as enacted by PL 1999, c. 409, §2, is amended to read:
Sec. 3. Stakeholder group to evaluate method of collection of funds. The Public Utilities Commission, using existing resources, shall convene a stakeholder group to evaluate whether the current method of collection of funds to support the telecommunications education access fund, established pursuant to the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 35-A, section 7104-B, subsection 2, is competitively neutral, equitable and sustainable. To the maximum extent possible, the recommendations from this group must reflect consensus among the stakeholders. The Public Utilities Commission shall submit a report to the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology by January 30, 2018 that includes:
1. An overview of the stakeholder group's discussions;
2. The conclusions of the stakeholder group, including any recommended changes to the method of assessment;
3. Any areas in which stakeholders were unable to reach consensus;
4. Changes to law, rule or policies needed to carry out an alternative to the current method of collection of funds;
5. A proposed timeline for implementation of an alternative to the current method of collection of funds;
6. A description of legal barriers to implementation of the stakeholder group's recommendations; and
7. Any other recommendations of the stakeholder group.
The joint standing committee may report out a bill to the Second Regular Session of the 128th Legislature related to the report.
This bill changes the limit on the amount collected on prepaid wireless telecommunications service from a percentage to a flat amount. This bill also requires the Public Utilities Commission to convene a stakeholder group to evaluate and provide recommendations regarding the method of collection of funds to support telecommunications access at libraries and public schools. The commission is required to report to the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology by January 30, 2018, and the committee is authorized to submit a bill based on the report.