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SB 0002 - Authorize EMCs to Provide Broadband Service and Utilize Electric Easements
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Tracking Level: Support
Sponsor: Steve Gooch (R)
Last Action: 4/26/2019 - Effective Date
Senate Committee: Regulated Industries and Utilities
House Committee: Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications
Assigned To:
Todd EdwardsNext Bill

Staff Analysis of the Legislation

This legislation authorizes Georgia's Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs) to provide broadband services, either directly or indirectly through a contractual arrangement or through an affiliate, within their respective jurisdictions in Georgia.  EMC's would not be able to "cross-subsidize" their broadband services through their electric or gas funds, nor would they be able to charge the costs of their broadband services to their electric or gas customers.  Those EMCs providing broadband would have a duty to provide access to their poles and rights of way to all communications service providers on rates, terms and conditions that are reasonable and nondiscriminatory.  Other communications service providers or EMC members can petition to enforce the above conditions with the Georgia Public Service Commission.  EMCs will also be eligible to apply for federal or state loans and grants to provide this service. EMCs already providing broadband services have until January 1, 2021 to comply with the provisions of this law.   

The language form HB 499 was attached to this bill, permitting broadband services (so long as additional poles or other ground-based structures are not employed) to be deployed in electrical easements provided this does not change the nature of the easement nor interfere with or impair any vested rights of the easement owner or occupier.  Broadband providers, or owners of electric easements, may install, maintain, lease, and operate broadband services in the easement without incurring liability or paying additional compensation to the owner of the property subject to the easement.  Owners of electric easements may assess fees and impose reasonable conditions on the use of facilities within the easement. 

Bill Summary from the State Site - Click for the State Summary Page / Click for Current Full Text

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