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SB 232, Facilitating Internet Broadband Rural Expansion (FIBRE) Act

 
Municipal Impact Position Contact
Working With Author Charlotte Davis, (678) 686-6291

Last Updated: 2/27/2017
Subject Area: Municipal Powers | Utilities |
Resources: bill text
SB 232, known as the ‘Facilitating Internet Broadband Rural Expansion (FIBRE) Act’, which could expedite the expansion of broadband service into rural areas of Georgia, but preempts home rule authority and places unreasonable burdens on local governments.

This bill would give free rein and special privileges to those seeking to put wireless service facilities in the public right of way. Local governments are prohibited from imposing on wireless service providers the same franchise fees charged to other users of the rights of way, such as gas and electric companies, for many decades and including wireless antenna and service companies in covering the costs for right of way management. These are well-known costs of doing business in the public right of way and serve to prevent the donation of the use of public property to a private company.

This bill presumes that a permit applicant’s request is reasonable and prevents cities from obtaining information necessary to defend against claims under federal law that the city’s policies are a barrier to receiving service. The bill prohibits local governments from requiring communications service providers working in the right of way to provide insurance or indemnity to the local government for injury they cause.

Althought the justification for this bill is to encourage broadband expansion in rural Georgia, the permits that must be issued to those seeking to build wireless infrastructure do not expire and only require that collocation work “commence” within one year and construction of a structure or facility “commence” within two years.

Additionally, this bill places unnecessary burdens on local government regulation of the shared right of way, disadvantages Georgia cities under federal law and provides unnecessary advantages and subsidies to the telecommunications industry that is not interested in providing service in areas that lack density of population. 

 
BILL STATUS

2/22/2017 - Assigned to Senate Committee

AUTHOR

Sen. Steve Gooch
District 51
Contact Info