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A06259 Summary:

BILL NOA06259
 
SAME ASNo Same As
 
SPONSORPaulin
 
COSPNSROtis
 
MLTSPNSR
 
Add §399-zzzzz, Gen Bus L
 
Requires broadband providers to offer high-speed broadband services to qualifying low-income consumers and allows for providers to increase the price of such services if proper notice is given.
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A06259 Actions:

BILL NOA06259
 
03/11/2021referred to corporations, authorities and commissions
03/16/2021reported referred to codes
03/24/2021reported
03/25/2021advanced to third reading cal.209
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A06259 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A6259
 
SPONSOR: Paulin
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the general business law, in relation to broadband service for low-income consumers   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill would ensure that affordable broadband service is available to all low-income New Yorkers by requiring broadband service providers to offer low-cost broadband service plans to low-income customers in New York.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 adds a new section to the General Business Law in relation to requiring broadband service providers to offer a low-income broadband service. Paragraph one defines the term "broadband service" for the purposes of this bill. Paragraph two requires every broadband service provider operating in New York to offer a low income high-speed broadband service at a minimum download speed of twenty-five megabits per second to households that are either 1) eligible for free of reduced-priced lunch through the National School Lunch Program; or 2) whose annual gross household income is not in excess of 185% of the federal poverty guidelines. Paragraph three requires such low income broadband service to cost the customer no more than fifteen dollars per month, inclusive or recurring taxes and fees, and places limitations on when and how much the provider can raise the price for such service. Paragraph four says that a low income broadband service that provides download speeds in excess of two hundred megabits per second at a cost of no more than twenty dollars per month satisfies the criteria for an acceptable plan under this section. Paragraph five requires every broadband service provider to promote and advertise the availability of their low-income broadband services. Paragraph six requires every broadband service provider to annually report to the Department of Public Service regarding their compliance with the requirements of this section, including the number of enrolled customers and a description of the services offered. Paragraph seven requires the Department of Public Service to period- ically review whether the minimum broadband speed required by this section should be increased and whether the eligibility requirements for the low-income service should be changed. Paragraph eight gives the Attorney General the ability to enforce the provisions of this section in court. Section two is the effective date.   DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ORIGINAL AND AMENDED VERSION (IF APPLICABLE): N/A   JUSTIFICATION: The challenges we have faced this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have made it abundantly clear that affordable internet access must be accessible for all New Yorkers. It has become an essential service in its own right - from working at home to online learning, no one can successfully participate in 21st Century life without the inter- net. No New Yorker should be without broadband internet service because they cannot afford a robust connection, and no one suffering from the economic impact of the pandemic should lose access because they have lost their income. This bill would require internet service providers to offer an afforda- ble $15 per month high speed internet plan to eligible low-income house- holds. Currently, a basic high-speed internet plan costs, on average, more than $50 a month, which is unaffordable to too many people. The State will also require providers to advertise this option to ensure programs reach underserved populations across the State. This broadband investment, coupled with regulatory reforms, will expand the reach of broadband service in the State and ensure all New Yorkers can partic- ipate in 21st Century life.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: None.   EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
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A06259 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                          6259
 
                               2021-2022 Regular Sessions
 
                   IN ASSEMBLY
 
                                     March 11, 2021
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced by M. of A. PAULIN -- read once and referred to the Committee
          on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions
 
        AN  ACT  to  amend  the  general  business law, in relation to broadband
          service for low-income consumers
 
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:

     1    Section  1.    The  general  business  law  is amended by adding a new
     2  section 399-zzzzz to read as follows:
     3    § 399-zzzzz. Broadband service for low-income consumers.  1.  For  the
     4  purposes  of  this  section,  the  term "broadband service" shall mean a
     5  mass-market retail service that provides the capability to transmit data
     6  to and receive data from all or substantially  all  internet  endpoints,
     7  including  any capabilities that are incidental to and enable the opera-
     8  tion of the communications service provided by a wireline,  fixed  wire-
     9  less  or  satellite  service  provider,  but  shall  not include dial-up
    10  service.
    11    2. Every person, business, corporation, or their agents  providing  or
    12  seeking  to  provide  wireline,  fixed  wireless  or satellite broadband
    13  service in New York state shall, no later  than  sixty  days  after  the
    14  effective  date  of  this section, offer high speed broadband service to
    15  low-income consumers whose  household:  (a)  is  eligible  for  free  or
    16  reduced-priced  lunch  through the National School Lunch Program; or (b)
    17  whose annual gross household income is not  in  excess  of  one  hundred
    18  eighty-five percent of the federal poverty guidelines as updated period-
    19  ically in the Federal Register by the United States Department of Health
    20  and  Human  Services  under  the authority of 42 U.S.C. § 9902(2).  Such
    21  low-income broadband service shall  provide  a  minimum  download  speed
    22  equal  to  the greater of twenty-five megabits per second download speed
    23  or the download speed of the provider's  existing  low-income  broadband
    24  service  sold to customers in the state subject to exceptions adopted by
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD10455-02-1

        A. 6259                             2
 
     1  the Public Service Commission where such download speed is  not  reason-
     2  ably practicable.
     3    3.  Broadband  service  for low-income consumers, as set forth in this
     4  section, shall be provided at a cost of no more than fifteen dollars per
     5  month, inclusive of any recurring  taxes  and  fees  such  as  recurring
     6  rental  fees for service provider equipment required to obtain broadband
     7  service and usage fees. Broadband service providers shall allow  low-in-
     8  come  broadband  service  subscribers  to purchase standalone or bundled
     9  cable and/or phone services separately. Broadband service providers may,
    10  once every five years, and after thirty days' notice  to  its  customers
    11  and the department of public service, increase the price of this service
    12  by the lesser of the most recent change in the consumer price index or a
    13  maximum of two percent per year of the price for such service.
    14    4.    A  broadband  service provider who offers a high speed broadband
    15  service to eligible low-income customers, as such term is used in subdi-
    16  vision two of this section, at a download speed of two hundred  megabits
    17  per  second  or  greater  at  a  cost of no more than twenty dollars per
    18  month, inclusive of any recurring  taxes  and  fees  such  as  recurring
    19  rental  fees for service provider equipment required to obtain broadband
    20  service and usage fees, shall be considered to be in compliance with the
    21  requirements of subdivisions two and three of this section. Such provid-
    22  ers may, once every two years, and after  thirty  days'  notice  to  its
    23  customers  and  the  department of public service, increase the price of
    24  such service by the lesser of the most recent  change  in  the  consumer
    25  price  index  or a maximum of two percent per year of the price for such
    26  service.
    27    5. Every person, business, corporation, or their agents  providing  or
    28  seeking  to  provide  broadband service in New York state shall make all
    29  commercially reasonable efforts to promote and advertise the availabili-
    30  ty of broadband service for  low-income  consumers  including,  but  not
    31  limited  to,  the  prominent  display of, and enrollment procedures for,
    32  such service on its website and in any  written  and  commercial  promo-
    33  tional  materials  developed to inform consumers who may be eligible for
    34  service pursuant to this section.
    35    6. Every person, business, corporation, or their agents  providing  or
    36  seeking  to  provide  broadband service in New York state shall annually
    37  submit to the department of  public  service,  no  later  than  November
    38  fifteenth after the effective date of this act, and annually thereafter,
    39  a  compliance  report  setting  forth:  (a) a description of the service
    40  offered pursuant to this section; (b) the number of  consumers  enrolled
    41  in such service; (c) a description of the procedures being used to veri-
    42  fy   the   eligibility  of  customers  receiving  such  service;  (d)  a
    43  description and samples of the advertising or marketing  efforts  under-
    44  taken  to  advertise  or  promote such service; (e) a description of all
    45  retail rate products, including pricing, offered by such  person,  busi-
    46  ness,  corporation,  or their agents; (f) a description, including speed
    47  and price, of all broadband products offered in the state of  New  York;
    48  and  (g)  such other information as the department of public service may
    49  require.
    50    7. The department of public service shall, within  two  years  of  the
    51  effective date of this section and at least every five years thereafter,
    52  undertake  a  proceeding  to determine if the minimum broadband download
    53  speed in this section should be increased to the federal  communications
    54  commission's  benchmark  broadband download speed, or to another minimum
    55  broadband download speed if the federal  communications  commission  has
    56  not  increased  its  benchmark  by such date.   The department of public

        A. 6259                             3
 
     1  service shall also: (a) undertake appropriate  measures  to  inform  the
     2  public about available broadband products, including retail rate product
     3  offerings  and  low-income  offerings; and (b) periodically, but no less
     4  than  once  every  five  years,  review eligibility requirements for the
     5  low-income service required pursuant to this section,  and  update  such
     6  requirements as may be necessary to meet the needs of consumers.
     7    8. Whenever there shall be a violation of this section, an application
     8  may  be  made  by  the attorney general in the name of the people of the
     9  state of New York to a court or justice having jurisdiction by a special
    10  proceeding to issue an injunction, and upon notice to the  defendant  of
    11  not  less than five days, to enjoin and restrain the continuance of such
    12  violation; and if it shall appear to the satisfaction of  the  court  or
    13  justice  that  the  defendant  has,  in  fact, violated this section, an
    14  injunction may  be  issued  by  the  court  or  justice,  enjoining  and
    15  restraining  any  further  violations,  without requiring proof that any
    16  person has, in fact, been  injured  or  damaged  thereby.  In  any  such
    17  proceeding,  the  court  may  make allowances to the attorney general as
    18  provided in paragraph six of subdivision  (a)  of  section  eighty-three
    19  hundred  three  of the civil practice law and rules, and direct restitu-
    20  tion. Whenever the court  shall  determine  that  a  violation  of  this
    21  section  has  occurred, the court may impose a civil penalty of not more
    22  than one thousand dollars per violation. In  connection  with  any  such
    23  proposed  application,  the attorney general is authorized to take proof
    24  and make a determination of the relevant facts and to issue subpoenas in
    25  accordance with the civil practice law and rules.
    26    § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
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