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Relating to middle mile broadband service provided by an electric utility.
Estimated Two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related Funds for SB1650, Committee Report 1st
House, Substituted: a negative impact of ($2,354,184) through the biennium ending August 31, 2023.
The bill would make no appropriation but could provide the legal basis for an appropriation of funds to
implement the provisions of the bill.
SB 1650 would allow electric utilities to lease their excess fiber capacity on existing or future middle mile infrastructure to internet service providers, without penalty should they choose not to do so. Electric utilities would be able to submit a written plan to the PUC with their rates, terms, and conditions of allowing the use of their middle mile infrastructure and the PUC would be able to accept or deny the plan. Electric utility providers offering middle mile fiber expansion would not be allowed to be an internet service provider.
SB 1650 would also limit state and local government from requiring an electric utility to install middle mile broadband, allowing others to install middle mile broadband on the electric utility's infrastructure, or prohibit the installation of middle mile broadband.
SB 1650 is permissive legislation granting electric utility providers the ability to lease their excess middle mile broadband fiber capacity to internet service providers, with approval from the PUC. This would allow ISPs to piggyback off of existing infrastructure without adding costs to taxpayers. Texas Action remains neutral on SB 1650.