I haven't done a teaser before, so forgive me if this comes out looking afflicted.
Jerry Meek wanted to know what y'all think of this bill. The bold emphasis is mine, so don't pay it much mind:
GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA
HOUSE BILL 40*
Short Title: E-NC Connectivity Incentives Funds.
Representatives Tolson; Clary, Hilton, Rapp, Parmon, Tucker, E. Warren, Wright, Alexander, Bell, Bryant, Coleman, Daughtridge, Faison, Glazier, Harrison, McLawhorn, Saunders, Underhill, and Wainwright.
Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House.
January 31, 2007
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT to appropriate funds to the e-nc authority to increase the availability of internet connectivity in underserved areas of the state through incentive grants, to provide additional funding for general operations, to expand the funding for the e-nc business and technology telecenters program, and to provide incentives to e-communities, local e-government utilization program participants, and e-commerce initiatives.
Whereas, the e-NC Authority is successfully pursuing its mandated goals of increasing access to affordable high-speed Internet and creating 21st century jobs through technology-based economic development in the rural areas and the distressed urban areas of the State; and
Whereas, the e-NC Business and Technology Telecenters (BTTs) serve as catalysts to technology-based economic development in some of North Carolina's most distressed regions by helping to grow existing small businesses, bringing new kinds of businesses into rural communities and regions, stimulating and supporting entrepreneurship, and creating 21st century jobs; and
Whereas, the e-NC Authority works successfully with local governments, educational and health institutions, and business by providing technical assistance to strengthen their technology capacities and service their communities by making available to the citizens technology services and resources, training, and public access to computers and the Internet; and
Whereas, the e-NC Authority supports citizens and communities through research, tracking of broadband Internet resources, and by providing information about such infrastructure through GIS mapping on the e-NC Web site. This allows citizens and businesses to view service offerings of telecommunications companies. E-NC answers broadband service inquiries about broadband access from citizens and businesses, economic development commissions, local and State agencies, and attempts to enable the inquirer to receive a timely response to their concerns; and
Whereas, the work of the e-NC Authority has leveraged more than two hundred million dollars ($200,000,000) for investment into NC communities to carry out deployment of connectivity in working with private and public sector partners as well as more than eight million dollars ($8,000,000) leveraged with its other major programs such as the Business and Technology Telecenters. These figures do not include the direct job creation through the Business and Technology Telecenters in Tier 1 & 2 areas, where more than 900 jobs were created between 2001 and 2005; Now, therefore,
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
SECTION 1.(a) There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Commerce for allocation to the e-NC Authority the sum of seven million five hundred thousand dollars ($7,500,000) for the 2007-2008 fiscal year and the sum of seven million five hundred thousand dollars ($7,500,000) for the 2008-2009 fiscal year to be used for high-speed Internet connectivity (build-out infrastructure) incentive grants for service providers. These funds shall not revert except upon subsequent action of the General Assembly.
SECTION 1.(b) The incentive grants shall be awarded on a competitive basis and shall require a minimum one hundred percent (100%) cash match from bidding service providers. Service providers shall fund at least fifty percent (50%) of the total project cost for each project. Companies shall ensure the number of additional households to be served as a result of the grant funding.
SECTION 1.(c) It is the intent of the General Assembly that the incentive grant funds shall be used to provide at least seventy percent (70%) of the households in each county with the ability to access high-speed Internet services by 2009. The amount of an incentive grant shall be awarded to the bid-winning service provider on a per household basis, for each new household for which access is made available. Incentives shall be provided only for households with no previous high-speed Internet service solutions available. Funds for incentive grants shall be committed to service providers by December 31, 2008.
SECTION 1.(d) The e-NC Authority may use up to five percent (5%) of these funds to cover its expenses in grant-letting and monitoring, and general operations.
SECTION 2. There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Commerce to be allocated to the e-NC Authority the sum of three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) for the 2007-2008 fiscal year and the sum of three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) for the 2008-2009 fiscal year to be used as additional funding for general operations and research.
SECTION 3.(a) There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Commerce to be allocated to the e-NC Authority the sum of two million dollars ($2,000,000) for the 2007-2008 fiscal year for continued and expanded funding of the e-NC Business and Technology Telecenters program.
SECTION 3.(b) The e-NC Authority may use up to five percent (5%) of these funds to cover its expenses in program development and implementation of activity areas with the Business and Technology Telecenters program.
SECTION 4. There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Commerce for allocation to the e-NC Authority the sum of two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) for the 2007-2008 fiscal year and the sum of two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) for the 2008-2009 fiscal year to be used for competitive innovation grants to e-communities, Business and Technology Telecenters, local e-government Utilization Program participants, and e-commerce initiatives for the development of model programs and value-added products that enhance the economy of their regions.
SECTION 5. The e-NC Authority shall work cooperatively with the following entities to carry out the purposes of this act: the Department of Commerce, The University of North Carolina System, the Community Colleges System Office, the local councils of government, the local chambers of commerce, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, the North Carolina League of Municipalities, the Regional Economic Development Partnerships, local economic developers, and the private and nonprofit sectors. The e-NC Authority may contract with other State agencies, The University of North Carolina System, the Community Colleges System Office, and nonprofit organizations to assist with program development and the evaluation of program activities.
SECTION 6. This act becomes effective July 1, 2007.