Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

03/30/2018 03:15 PM House LABOR & COMMERCE

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Heard & Held
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         HB 384-REGULATORY COMM OF AK; BROADBAND INTERNET                                                                   
3:46:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KITO  announced that  the next order  of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO.   384,  "An  Act  relating   to  the  Regulatory                                                               
Commission of Alaska and broadband Internet regulations."                                                                       
3:46:12 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DAVID   GUTTENBERG,  Alaska   State  Legislature,                                                               
presented HB 384  as prime sponsor.  He stated  that the proposed                                                               
bill  represents  a  conflict  that needs  to  be  remediated  or                                                               
corrected.    He said it is  not clear which entity  in the state                                                               
is responsible for  broadband. He read the  definition in statute                                                               
of  telecommunications  from  AS 42.05.990(13),  which  reads  as                                                               
     (13)  "telecommunications" means the transmission and                                                                      
     reception of messages, impressions, pictures, and                                                                          
     signals by   means of   electricity, electromagnetic                                                                       
     waves, and any other kind of energy, force variations,                                                                     
     or impulses whether conveyed by cable, wire, radiated                                                                      
     through space, or transmitted through other media                                                                          
     within a specified area or between designated points.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG  said  the entities  cannot  establish                                                               
amongst  themselves who  has jurisdiction  on broadband  internet                                                               
access.  He said the FCC  says they don't have responsibly of any                                                               
kind.   He stated the  RCA says it does  not have authority.   He                                                               
said he  thinks someone in the  state should have authority.   He                                                               
added  that  there  is  no  entity  for  consumer  complaints  or                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG spoke  to the  issue of  mapping.   He                                                               
said his  district appears on  maps to  have fast speeds,  but it                                                               
does  not.    He  said  he   has  spoken  to  the  Department  of                                                               
Administration  (DOA)  about  increasing access  to  the  state's                                                               
broadband and they also  say it is not their role.   He stated he                                                               
thinks the RCA is the  appropriate entity to oversee broadband in                                                               
the state.                                                                                                                      
3:53:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH   stated  his   opposition  to   the  bill,                                                               
comparing it  to the  debate over Uber  services in  the previous                                                               
year.   He said he thinks it is a federal issue.                                                                                
3:55:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  answered the FCC has  exclusive remedy                                                               
to regulate, so the state would  not have the ability to regulate                                                               
[broadband] like  a utility.  He  said there are things  that the                                                               
state can  do, such  as mapping.   He said there  is no  one that                                                               
could provide  consumer protection.    He  added there  are thing                                                               
the FCC  doesn't do, but  which are not  covered by an  entity in                                                               
the state.   He  said the  consumers need an  avenue and  the FCC                                                               
isn't it.  He said it's up to  the states.  He pointed to service                                                               
in  the denser  areas.    He stated  the  FCC  has a  "hands-off"                                                               
position and the state isn't  providing the information.  He said                                                               
he does  not think  the [ISPs] are  doing anything  illegal, just                                                               
looking after their business plan.   He said the state has no one                                                               
looking after  its interests.   He reiterated that he  thinks the                                                               
RCA is the right entity.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES asked if the  proposed bill mirrors the net                                                               
neutrality bill.                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  answered it  does not.   He  said,  if                                                               
you don't  have broadband,  net neutrality isn't  an issue."   He                                                               
said  the  proposed bill  attempts  to  ensure that  people  have                                                               
internet access.                                                                                                                
4:00:08 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked what the RCA position is.                                                                             
CHAIR  KITO stated  that representatives  from the  RCA would  be                                                               
testifying.  He asked about  the change Representative Guttenberg                                                               
would make to the statute.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  said that  under the  existing statute                                                               
defining telecommunications,  RCA says they don't  have authority                                                               
to regulate the  service.  He said the legal  opinion is that the                                                               
RCA does have authority.                                                                                                        
CHAIR   KITO   asked   whether  Representative   Guttenberg   was                                                               
anticipating  that  the RCA  will  field  complaints against  the                                                               
entities even if the entities are not regulated by the RCA.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG  said  he  is  defining  that  RCA  is                                                               
covering this.                                                                                                                  
CHAIR KITO asked what Representative  Guttenberg wants the RCA to                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG said  he would like to  see examples of                                                               
where the state could be more  competitive.  He remarked there is                                                               
limited competition  in the state.   He said the amount  of money                                                               
coming into  the ISP carriers  now prevents a lot  of competition                                                               
from  happening.   He  said  he  thinks  there are  places  where                                                               
competition can be promoted.                                                                                                    
CHAIR KITO  said he was trying  to understand how the  bill as it                                                               
is written  would institute  the change for  the RCA  to regulate                                                               
the industry.  He asked said it  does not seem that the RCA would                                                               
be able  to be proactive  to increase broadband when  that hasn't                                                               
been their role with other utilities.                                                                                           
4:05:43 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  said the FCC has  preempted regulation                                                               
by the state.  He said  the proposed bill would just put internet                                                               
and broadband under their purview.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES  asked for  definitions of "they"  and "it"                                                               
in the context of the proposed bill.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG answered  that the  FCC (they)  is the                                                               
only entity  that can  regulate broadband  (it) and  internet. He                                                               
said the RCA can  do things inside the state that  the FCC is not                                                               
4:08:34 PM                                                                                                                    
RICH GAZAWAY,  Regulatory Commission  of Alaska  (RCA) Anchorage,                                                               
Alaska, testified in the hearing on  HB 384.  He indicated he was                                                               
testifying with Stephen McAlpine and  David Parrish of the common                                                               
carrier section.                                                                                                                
CHAIR KITO  asked what the RCA  would be eligible or  prepared to                                                               
do with respect to broadband internet.                                                                                          
MR. GAZAWAY  said that the RCA  has never proclaimed that  it has                                                               
no jurisdiction over broadband whatsoever.   He informed that the                                                               
federal government  has precluded much  of the RCA's  activity in                                                               
the internet market.  He said  the RCA cannot impose a regulatory                                                               
cost charge (RCC).  He added  that under the Net Neutrality order                                                               
it has been  further limited so that the RCA  cannot require non-                                                               
discriminatory  access.   He  stated  there  is an  informational                                                               
docket open requesting  information regarding broadband networks,                                                               
and the  RCA was  told by  carriers that it  cannot ask  for that                                                               
information.   He informed that  any network  carrying interstate                                                               
service can fall  under the RCA's jurisdiction.   He acknowledged                                                               
that the RCA does not have rate oversight jurisdiction.                                                                         
4:11:03 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH  referred  to a  Legal  Service  memorandum                                                               
stating that  with the proposed bill,  the RCA will still  not be                                                               
able to  regulate any area that  is preempted by federal  law and                                                               
any  attempt by  the RCA  to reinstate  that the  FCC intends  to                                                               
preempt  by  the order  would  likely  be unconstitutional.    He                                                               
shared his  concern about the  state attempting to  define Alaska                                                               
as a unique market and thereby compromise competition.                                                                          
MR. GAZAWAY asked whether the  question is whether he agrees with                                                               
the legal opinion.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH  said he is concerned  about defining Alaska                                                               
as different from the other 49 states.                                                                                          
MR.  GAZAWAY  said the  jurisdictional  oversight  refers to  the                                                               
telecommunications industry.  He added  there was no oversight on                                                               
other entities.   He said, "they are subsidized  while other ISPs                                                               
are  not."   He  said  there  were federally  funded  performance                                                               
4:14:34 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  asked Mr. Gazaway whether  he agrees whether                                                               
broadband falls  under the definition of  telecommunications that                                                               
has been presented.                                                                                                             
MR. GAZAWAY  clarified that as  staff his opinion is  not binding                                                               
on the commission, but he agrees.                                                                                               
4:15:23 PM                                                                                                                    
STEPHEN MCALPINE,  Commissioner, Regulatory Commission  of Alaska                                                               
(RCA), answered questions  in the hearing on HB 384.   He pointed                                                               
out  that   it  has  been   stated  that  the  RCA   is  "totally                                                               
preemptive."  He  said there are varying opinions.   He said that                                                               
by putting  it in  statute, it  can only  clarify that  which has                                                               
some doubt.                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL asked  about  voice  over internet  protocol                                                               
(VOIP) regulation.                                                                                                              
MR. GAZAWAY answered  that VOIP is not regulated by  the RCA.  He                                                               
said payment expectations  can be imposed, but states  all have a                                                               
different  approach.   He mentioned  that some  states have  sued                                                               
over the issue  and there has never been a  proclamation from the                                                               
FCC either way.                                                                                                                 
4:17:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KITO opened public testimony on HB 384.                                                                                   
4:17:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG pointed to a  sheet of paper that helps                                                               
see what  other states have done  with broadband.  He  spoke to a                                                               
2008 broadband taskforce  report.  He said it  states there needs                                                               
to be  an entity that  regulates broadband, and Alaska  has none.                                                               
He  mentioned  the universal  service  fund.  He suggested  those                                                               
funds could be used for grants.   He opined that Alaska, with its                                                               
distances  and lack  of infrastructure,  has to  do something  to                                                               
promote access to broadband.                                                                                                    
4:20:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KITO held over HB 384.                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB015 Letter of Support 3.30.18.pdf HL&C 3/30/2018 3:15:00 PM
SB 15
HB230 Supporting Document ACLU.pdf HL&C 3/30/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 230
HB384 Supporting Document FCC Commissioner Pai Alaska Plan Dissent 3.28.18.pdf HL&C 3/30/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 384
HB384 Supporting Document FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel on New National Broadband Map 3.28.18.pdf HL&C 3/30/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 384
HB384 Supporting Document NCSL List of State Broadband Statutes.pdf HL&C 3/30/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 384
HB384 Supporting Document RCA Enabling Statutes 3.28.18.pdf HL&C 3/30/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 384
HB384 Ver A.pdf HL&C 3/30/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 384
HB384 Fiscal Note DCCED RCA 3.23.18.pdf HL&C 3/30/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 384
HB384 Legal Memo 3.28.18.pdf HL&C 3/30/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 384
HB384 Sponsor Statement 3.28.18.pdf HL&C 3/30/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 384
SB045 Opposition Document - Zoning, Land-use Planning, and Housing Affordability.pdf HL&C 3/30/2018 3:15:00 PM
SB 45
HB384 Supporting Document Restoring Internet Freedom Jurisdictional Excerpt 3.28.18.pdf HL&C 3/30/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 384
HB384 Opposition Letters 3.30.18.pdf HL&C 3/30/2018 3:15:00 PM
HB 384