2015 - 2016 LEGISLATURE
January 29, 2016 - Introduced by Representatives Quinn, E. Brooks, Tranel,
VanderMeer, Bernier, Kulp, Mursau, Novak, Krug, T. Larson, Nerison,
Spiros, Edming, Ripp, Swearingen, Petryk, Czaja, Kitchens, Tauchen, A. Ott
and Macco, cosponsored by Senators Marklein,
Harsdorf, Roth, Gudex and
Tiffany. Referred to Committee on Mining and Rural Development.
1An Act to amend
196.504 (title), 196.504 (1) (a) 3., 196.504 (2) (c) and 196.85 2
(1m) (b); and to create
196.504 (1) (ae), 196.504 (3), 196.504 (4), 196.504 (5), 3
196.504 (6), 196.504 (7), 196.504 (8) and 196.504 (9) of the statutes; relating
4to: duties of the Public Service Commission under the broadband expansion
5grant program and certification of political subdivisions under that program.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill imposes certain duties on the Public Service Commission regarding
broadband infrastructure. Current law requires the PSC to designate areas of the
state that are served by fewer than two broadband service providers as underserved
areas and make grants for constructing broadband infrastructure in those areas in
accordance with specified priorities. The bill requires the PSC to encourage the
development of broadband infrastructure in those areas. The bill also requires the
PSC to provide comprehensive information concerning permits required for
broadband network projects and related business activities in the state. In addition,
the PSC must work with other state and local agencies to encourage timely and
efficient issuance of permits and resolution of related issues, as well as encourage
local and federal government agencies to coordinate activities related to approving
applications and issuing permits related to broadband network projects.
The bill imposes additional priorities on the PSC in making the grants
described above. Under the bill, the PSC must give priority to projects that promote
economic development. Also, the PSC must give priority to projects in a city, village,
town, or county (political subdivision) that the PSC has certified as a Broadband
Forward! community. To be eligible for that certification, a political subdivision must
enact an ordinance for reviewing applications and issuing permits related to
broadband network projects. The ordinance must provide for all of the following: a
single point of contact; specified deadlines on the political subdivision's
consideration of applications; specified requirements on the denial and approval of
applications; filing by electronic or another means authorized by the PSC; and
reasonable fees. The bill allows the PSC to develop a model ordinance that complies
with the bill's requirements. If a political subdivision enacts an ordinance that is
different from a model ordinance, the bill requires the political subdivision, when
applying for certification, to submit a written statement describing the ordinance
and how it differs from the model ordinance.
The bill requires the PSC to prescribe the form and manner for political
subdivisions to apply for certification. The PSC must also prescribe a process for
public notice and comment on applications for a period of at least 30 days, and the
PSC must consider any public comments before making a certification. However, the
process for public notice and comment does not apply to an application by a political
subdivision that enacts a model ordinance developed by the PSC or submits the
written statement described above.
The bill imposes the following prohibitions on a political subdivision that the
PSC certifies as a Broadband Ready! community: requiring designation of a final
contractor to complete a broadband network project; imposing application fees that
exceed $100; imposing unreasonable fees; imposing moratoriums on applications,
permits, or construction related to broadband network projects; discriminating
among public utilities and certain other entities; requiring applicants to provide any
service to the political subdivision, and, except for reasonable fees, requiring an
applicant to make any payment to or on behalf of the political subdivision.
Also, the bill allows the PSC to decertify a political subdivision upon the request
of a broadband service provider if the political subdivision fails to comply with an
ordinance described above, modifies the ordinance, or violates a prohibition
described above. In addition, the bill allows the PSC to hear complaints that a fee
under an ordinance is unreasonable. In a proceeding on such a complaint, the bill
specifies that a political subdivision has the burden of proving reasonableness.
For further information see the state fiscal estimate, which will be printed as
an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
196.504 (title) of the statutes is amended to read:
(title) Broadband expansion grant program; Broadband
3Forward! community certification.
196.504 (1) (a) 3. of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) 3. A city, village, town, or county political subdivision
submits an application in partnership with an eligible applicant under subd. 1. or 2.
196.504 (1) (ae) of the statutes is created to read:
(ae) "Political subdivision" means a city, village, town, or county.
(c) To establish criteria for evaluating applications and awarding 9
grants under this section. The criteria shall prohibit grants that have the effect of 10
subsidizing the expenses of a provider of telecommunication provider 11telecommunications service, as defined in s. 182.017 (1g) (cq),
or the monthly bills of 12telecommunications
customers of those providers
. The criteria shall give priority to 13
projects that include matching funds, that involve public-private partnerships, that 14
affect areas with no broadband service providers, that are scalable,
15economic development, that are in a political subdivision certified as a Broadband
16Forward! community under sub. (4),
or that affect a large geographic area or a large 17
number of underserved individuals or communities.
196.504 (3) of the statutes is created to read:
The commission shall encourage the development of broadband 20
infrastructure in underserved areas of the state and do all of the following:
(a) Provide comprehensive information concerning permits required for 22
broadband network projects and related business activities in the state and make 23
this information available to any person.
(b) Work with other state and local government offices, departments, and 2
administrative entities to encourage timely and efficient issuance of permits and 3
resolution of related issues.
(c) Encourage local and federal government agencies to coordinate activities 5
related to approving applications and issuing permits related to broadband network 6
196.504 (4) of the statutes is created to read:
A political subdivision may apply to the commission for 9
certification as a Broadband Forward! community. The commission shall prescribe 10
the form and manner for making an application. The commission shall prescribe a 11
process for public notice and comment on an application for a period of at least 30 12
days after the application is received, except that the process does not apply to an 13
application by a political subdivision that enacts a model ordinance developed under 14
sub. (9) (a) or submits a written statement under sub. (9) (b). The commission shall 15
approve an application and certify a political subdivision as a Broadband Forward! 16
community if the commission determines that the political subdivision has enacted 17
an ordinance that complies with sub. (5). If the process for public notice and comment 18
applies to an application, the commission shall, before approving the application, 19
consider any public comments made regarding the application.
196.504 (5) of the statutes is created to read:
A political subdivision may not be certified as a Broadband 22
Forward! community under sub. (4) unless the political subdivision enacts an 23
ordinance for reviewing applications and issuing permits related to broadband 24
network projects that provides for all of the following:
(a) Appointing a single point of contact for all matters related to a broadband 2
(b) Requiring the political subdivision to determine whether an application is 4
complete and notifying the applicant about the determination in writing within 10 5
days of receiving the application.
(c) If the political subdivision does not believe that an application is complete, 7
requiring the written notification under par. (b) to specify in detail the required 8
information that is incomplete.
(d) If the political subdivision does not make the written notification required 10
under par. (b), requiring the political subdivision to consider an application to be 11
(e) Allowing an applicant to resubmit an application as often as necessary until 13
the application is complete.
(f) Within 45 days of receiving an application that is complete, requiring the 15
political subdivision to approve or deny the application and provide the applicant 16
written notification of the approval or denial.
(g) If the political subdivision denies an application, requiring the political 18
subdivision to include in the written notification under par. (f) substantial evidence 19
that supports the denial.
(h) Requiring that an application is considered approved and any required 21
permit is issued if the political subdivision does not provide the written notification 22
under par. (f).
(i) Providing that any fee imposed by the political subdivision to review an 24
application, issue a permit, or perform any other activity related to a broadband 25
network project is reasonable.
(k) Allowing all forms, applications, and documentation related to a broadband 2
network project to be filed and signed by electronic or another means authorized by 3
196.504 (6) of the statutes is created to read:
A political subdivision that the commission has certified as a 6
Broadband Forward! community under sub. (4) may not do any of the following:
(a) Require an applicant to designate a final contractor to complete a 8
broadband network project.
(b) Impose an unreasonable fee to review an application or issue a permit for 10
a broadband network project application. Any application fee that exceeds $100 is 11
(c) Impose a moratorium of any kind on the approval of applications and 13
issuance of permits for broadband network projects or on construction related to 14
broadband network projects.
(d) Discriminate among providers of telecommunications service, as defined in 16
s. 182.017 (1g) (cq), or public utilities with respect to any action described in this 17
section or otherwise related to a broadband network project, including granting 18
access to public rights-of-way, infrastructure and poles, river and bridge crossings, 19
or any other physical assets owned or controlled by the political subdivision.
(e) As a condition for approving an application or issuing a permit for a 21
broadband network project or for any other purpose, require the applicant to do any 22
of the following: