IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
April 14, 2021
Mr. Daines (for himself and Mr. Kelly) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
To require Federal agencies to timely respond to right-of-way requests for the build out of broadband service, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Accelerating Rural Broadband Deployment Act.
Access to Federal rights-of-way for build out of broadband service
In this section:
The term broadband service means—
any service that has the capacity to transmit data to enable users or devices to originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video;
any service by wire or radio that provides the capability to transmit data to, and receive data from, all or substantially all internet endpoints—
including any capabilities that are incidental to, and enable the operation of, the service; and
excluding dial-up internet access service; or
any service that is the functional equivalent of a service described in subparagraph (A) or (B).
The term Executive agency—
has the meaning given the term in section 105 of title 5, United States Code; and
does not include the Department of Defense, except for the Army Corps of Engineers.
If an Executive agency, a State, a political subdivision or agency of a State, an Indian tribal government, or a person, firm, or organization requests access to a right-of-way owned by the Federal Government, or an instrumentality thereof, in order to place, construct, modify, or operate facilities for the provision of broadband service, the Executive agency having control of the right-of-way may grant to the applicant, on behalf of the Federal Government, a license of occupancy authorizing the deployment of all equipment required to deploy broadband service.
A license of occupancy issued under this subsection shall be issued with a duration of not more than 30 years and may be automatically renewed for additional periods of like duration.
Each Executive agency shall establish an annual license fee for a license of occupancy issued under this subsection.
In establishing a fee under subparagraph (A), an Executive agency shall—
consider property valuations based on the restricted and limited use nature of the underlying parcel (adjacent commercial, private or multiple use properties shall not be used for the purpose of determining comparable valuations); and
the size of the portion of land requested to accommodate the equipment of the licensee that is required to deploy broadband service.
An annual license fee established under this paragraph may be adjusted, not more frequently than once every 6 years, to reflect the current valuations upon renewal of such license.
Rule of construction
Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to exempt an Executive agency from the requirements of division A of subtitle III of title 54, United States Code, or the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.).
Timely consideration of applications
Not later than 60 days after the date on which an Executive agency receives a request under subsection (b), the Executive agency shall—
on behalf of the Federal Government, grant the application, grant the application subject to conditions, or deny the application; and
notify the applicant of the decision of the Executive agency under subparagraph (A).
Explanation of denial
If an Executive agency denies an application under this subsection, the Executive agency shall notify the applicant in writing of such denial, which shall—
be supported by substantial evidence contained in a written record; and
include a clear statement of the reasons for the denial.
Public release of record
The written record described in paragraph (2)(A) shall be made available to the public on the date on which the written notification is provided to the applicant under paragraph (2).
Automatic grant of request
If an Executive agency fails to act on a request received under subsection (b) by the end of the 60-day period described in paragraph (1), the application shall be considered granted.
Any regulation issued by an Executive agency governing management of access to a Federal right-of-way under this section shall—
be competitively and technologically neutral; and
apply to all providers of broadband service on a competitively neutral and nondiscriminatory basis.