2020 Code of Alabama
Title 37 - Public Utilities and Public Transportation.
Chapter 16 - Broadband Using Electric Easements Accessibility Act.
Section 37-16-2 - Legislative Findings.
(a) The Legislature finds and declares the following:
(1) More advanced communication capabilities, broadband facilities, and services are needed in many rural and underserved areas of the state.
(2) Electric providers in those rural and underserved areas are capable of providing infrastructure for such advanced communications capabilities and providing, directly or indirectly, broadband facilities or services.
(3) The investment in and development of advanced communications capabilities for providing broadband facilities and services are necessary to better serve the public in those rural and underserved areas.
(4) The continued lack of advanced communication capabilities, broadband facilities, and services in rural and underserved areas deprives citizens residing in these areas from access to opportunities such that the state needs to take action to correct and eliminate these discrepancies.
(5) It is the public policy of this state to encourage and facilitate the development and investment in advanced communications capabilities and broadband facilities and services in those rural and underserved areas in the state, as this development is vital and necessary to induce, create, and promote industrial and economic development in those rural and underserved areas of the state and to create job opportunities, enhance health care, and enhance educational advancement in those areas.
(6) It is the public policy of the state to promote the authorization of advanced communications capabilities to be installed by electric providers within existing easements and other rights-of-way.
(7) It is the intent of this chapter to authorize electric providers to engage in arrangements, contracts, and other collaborative activities with public or private persons to facilitate the investment in or development of advanced communications capabilities and broadband services and broadband systems in this state.
(8) The limited grant of authorization to electric providers in this chapter is reasonably related to the proposed legislative objective of providing advanced communications capabilities, broadband facilities, and services in rural, underserved, and unserved areas.
(b) Except as provided in subsection (a), nothing contained in this chapter is intended to exempt, except, or exclude providers that engage in the provision of broadband facilities or services through advanced communications capabilities from complying with any provisions of federal law which may at any time apply to the electric providers or their broadband facilities or services.
(Act 2019-326, §1.)