Assembly Bill 1665, authored by Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee on Tuesday, July 18, 2017. As currently written, AB 1665 would negatively impact the deployment of much-needed broadband service in rural communities, further limiting access to educational and economic opportunities.
While RCRC initially had a “Support if Amended” position on AB 1665, recent amendments have forced RCRC and the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) to adopt an “Oppose Unless Amended” position. RCRC and CSAC are requesting that the bill be amended to restore the definitions of “unserved” and “underserved,” eliminate annual “right of first refusal,” and require transparency standards for deployment projects subsidized by ratepayers and Public-Benefit MOU commitments. In addition, RCRC and CSAC advocates that an alternative definition of “disadvantaged community” be included to ensure deserving communities are not inadvertently excluded from eligibility.
RCRC is very supportive of the original intent of AB 1665 and continuing the California Advanced Services Fund program. RCRC and CSAC have been in discussions with Legislators and legislative staff to share the negative impacts of the recent amendments, and to find a path forward that is positive for rural communities. RCRC’s joint “Oppose Unless Amended” letter can be accessed here.