Techwire: Governor Signs Broadband, Cybersecurity Bills by Deadline

October 11, 2021
By Theo Douglas
The legislative session officially ended Sunday, which was the last day for Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign or veto proposed laws sent to his desk by elected representatives.
And as expected, Newsom signed several significant pieces of technology and innovation-related legislation. This year’s crop of new laws is intended to hone existing cybersecurity and data legislation and smooth the way for getting more and better broadband out to residents. Among the takeaways:
Newsom signed state Senate Bill 4, from state Sen. Lena Gonzalez, D-Long Beach, the Broadband for All Act; and Assembly Bill 14, from Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters, the Internet for All Act. The bills were designed to be contingently enacted. SB 4 requires the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) to work with state, local and national entities to find “ways to facilitate streamlining of local land use approvals and construction permit processes” for broadband infrastructure deployment and projects around connectivity. It also sets a goal for the California Advanced Services Fund’s (CASF) Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account of approving funding for infrastructure projects that “provide broadband access to no less than 98 percent of California households” by Dec. 31, 2032. This extends the current deadline by six years; the bill takes effect immediately. AB 14 extends a CASF funding mechanism by a decade to 2032 and authorizes the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to impose a surcharge aimed at collecting $330,000 for CASF through Dec. 31, 2032. It also empowers the CPUC to require Internet service providers to report on “free, low-cost, income-qualified, or affordable Internet service” plans they advertise. This bill also takes effect immediately.