HB 9/HJR 125 (Ashby) Relating to the development and funding of broadband and telecommunications services

  • Directs $1.5 billion of state funds to the Texas Broadband Infrastructure Fund to be administered by the Comptroller 
  • $175 million for 9-1-1 and Next Generation 9-1-1 and $75 million for the Pole Replacement Program
  • $1.2 billion for broadband deployment and to meet the federal BEAD Program match
  • Funds can also be used for expanding access in economically distressed areas and in administering/enforcing this legislation
  • HB 9 passed both chambers and is heading to the Governor’s desk; the bill will be effective upon passage of its constitutional amendment

SB 983 (Paxton) Relating to information maintained by certain municipally owned utilities that provide electricity services and cable, Internet, or broadband services

  • Allows utility provider a means to discuss competitive matters in executive session to ensure the best outcome relating to the deployment of competitively priced cable/internet/broadband services
  • Only applies to an electric utility that provides these services on/before 2003; bill is specifically bracketed to Greenville Electric Utility System
  • SB 983 passed both chambers and is heading to the Governor’s desk

SB 1238 (Nichols) Relating to broadband development

  • Adopts broadband framework as established by HB 5 87(R) to reflect evolving 
  • Updates definition of broadband access to include latency
  • Adopts standards for served, underserved, and unserved
  • Revises metrics used for the creation of the broadband map; recognizes we have location-based broadband data
  • Aligns state statute with deployment Federal BEAD funds by mirroring their preference for fiber deployment, but but added flexibility to approve non-fiber in high cost areas
  • Requirements that recipients for other federal funding must report to the BDO
  • Revises the meeting schedule for the board of advisors
  • Bill retains the Governor’s Broadband Council
  • Clarifies there is a conflict of interest if a member is involved in related decisions regarding the award of grants, loans, or other financial incentives
  • SB 1238 passed both chambers and is heading to the Governor’s desk

SB 1243 (Huffman) Relating to the franchise tax treatment of certain broadband grants made for the purposes of broadband deployment in this state

  • The bill excludes from total revenue the grants received for broadband deployment in Texas through the IIJA
  • Allows qualified expenses paid with grant proceeds to be in the determination of cost of goods sold or compensation for purposes of the franchise tax
  • SB 1234 has been signed by the Governor and is now effective

SB 1117 (Hancock) Relating to entities that provide video services

  • Prohibits municipalities from charging a cable franchise fee to satellite and streaming services
  • SB 1117 passed the Senate, and House committee, but was killed by procedural action on the House floor