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SF 3476

1st Engrossment - 92nd Legislature (2021 - 2022) Posted on 03/23/2022 11:06am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to broadband; establishing a program of financial assistance to extend
broadband service to unserved areas; establishing a process to allow existing
easements to be used for broadband service; amending Minnesota Statutes 2020,
section 116J.396, subdivision 2; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota
Statutes, chapter 116J.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

new text begin [116J.3951] BROADBAND LINE EXTENSION PROGRAM.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Program established. new text end

new text begin A broadband line extension grant program is
established in the Department of Employment and Economic Development. The purpose
of the broadband line extension grant program is to award grants to eligible applicants in
order to extend existing broadband infrastructure to unserved locations.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Portal. new text end

new text begin No later than November 1, 2022, the department must develop and
implement a portal on the department's website that allows a person to report (1) that
broadband service is unavailable at the physical address of the person's residence or business,
and (2) any additional information the department deems necessary to ensure the broadband
line extension grant program functions effectively. The department must develop a form
that allows the information identified in this subdivision to be submitted on paper.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Data sharing. new text end

new text begin (a) Beginning no later than six months after the date the portal
is implemented and every six months thereafter, the department must send to each broadband
service provider serving Minnesota customers (1) a list of addresses submitted to the portal
under subdivision 2 during the previous six months, and (2) any additional information the
department deems necessary to ensure the broadband line extension grant program functions
effectively. The department must send the information required under this section via e-mail.
new text end

new text begin (b) No later than ten days after the date the list in paragraph (a) is provided, a broadband
service provider may notify the department of any posted address at which the broadband
service provider's broadband service is available. The department must provide persons
residing or doing business at those addresses with contact information for:
new text end

new text begin (1) the broadband service provider whose broadband service is available at that address;
and
new text end

new text begin (2) programs administered by government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or the
applicable broadband service provider that reduce the cost of broadband service and for
which the persons may be eligible.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Reverse auction process. new text end

new text begin (a) No later than ten days after the date the notice
requirement in subdivision 3, paragraph (b), expires, the department must notify each
broadband service provider that the broadband service provider may participate in the reverse
auction process under this subdivision. Within 60 days of the date the notification is received,
a broadband service provider may submit a bid to the department to extend the broadband
service provider's existing broadband infrastructure to a location where broadband service
is currently unavailable.
new text end

new text begin (b) A bid submitted under this subdivision must include:
new text end

new text begin (1) a proposal to extend broadband infrastructure to one or more of the addresses on the
list sent by the department to the broadband service provider under subdivision 3, paragraph
(a), at which broadband service is unavailable;
new text end

new text begin (2) the amount of the broadband infrastructure extension's total cost that the broadband
service provider proposes to pay;
new text end

new text begin (3) the amount of the broadband infrastructure extension's total cost that the broadband
service provider proposes that the department is responsible for paying; and
new text end

new text begin (4) any additional information required by the department.
new text end

new text begin (c) Financial assistance that the department provides under this section must be in the
form of a grant issued to the broadband service provider. A grant issued under this section
must not exceed $25,000 per line extension.
new text end

new text begin (d) Within 60 days of the date the bidding period closes, the department must review
the bids submitted and select the broadband service provider bids that request the least
amount of financial support from the state, provided that the department determines that
the selected bids represent a cost-effective expenditure of state resources.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Line extension agreement. new text end

new text begin The department must enter into a line extension
agreement with each winning bidder identified under subdivision 4, except that the
department may not enter into a line extension agreement to serve any customer located
within an area that will be served by a grant already awarded by the department under section
116J.395.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Contents of agreement. new text end

new text begin A line extension agreement under subdivision 5 must
contain the following terms:
new text end

new text begin (1) the broadband service provider agrees to extend broadband infrastructure to support
broadband service scalable to speeds of at least 100 megabits per second download and 100
megabits per second upload to each address included in the broadband service provider's
winning bid;
new text end

new text begin (2) the department agrees to pay the state's portion of the line extension cost in a grant
issued to the broadband service provider upon the completion of the broadband infrastructure
extension to each address in the broadband service provider's winning bid; and
new text end

new text begin (3) the winning bidder has an exclusive right to apply the grant to the cost of the
broadband infrastructure extension for a period of one year after the date the agreement is
executed.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 116J.396, subdivision 2, is amended to read:


Subd. 2.

Expenditures.

Money in the account may be used only:

(1) for grant awards made under deleted text beginsectiondeleted text endnew text begin sectionsnew text end 116J.395new text begin and 116J.3951new text end, including
costs incurred by the Department of Employment and Economic Development to administer
that section;

(2) to supplement revenues raised by bonds sold by local units of government for
broadband infrastructure development; or

(3) to contract for the collection of broadband deployment data from providers and the
creation of maps showing the availability of broadband service.

Sec. 3.

new text begin [116J.399] BROADBAND EASEMENTS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Definitions. new text end

new text begin For the purposes of this section, the following terms have
the meanings given:
new text end

new text begin (1) "broadband infrastructure" has the meaning given in section 116J.394, paragraph
(c);
new text end

new text begin (2) "broadband service" has the meaning given in section 116J.394, paragraph (b); and
new text end

new text begin (3) "provider" means a broadband service provider, but does not include an electric
cooperative association organized under chapter 308A that provides broadband service.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Use of existing easements for broadband services. new text end

new text begin (a) A provider or provider's
affiliate, or another entity that has entered into an agreement with a provider, may use the
provider, affiliate, or entity's existing or subsequently acquired easements to install broadband
infrastructure and provide broadband service, which may include an agreement to lease
fiber capacity.
new text end

new text begin (b) Before exercising rights granted under this subdivision, a provider must provide
notice to the property owner on which the easement is located, as described in subdivision
3.
new text end

new text begin (c) Use of an easement to install broadband infrastructure and provide broadband service
vests and runs with the land beginning six months after the first notice is provided under
subdivision 3, unless a court action challenging the use of the easement has been filed before
that time by the property owner as provided under subdivision 4. The provider must also
file copies of the notices with the county recorder.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Notice to property owner. new text end

new text begin (a) A provider must send two written notices to
impacted property owners declaring that the provider intends to use the easements to install
broadband infrastructure and provide broadband service. The notices must be sent at least
two months apart and must be sent by first class mail to the last known address of the owner
of the property on which the easement is located or, if the property owner is an existing
customer of the provider, by separate printed insertion in the property owner's monthly
invoice or included as a separate page on a property owner's electronic invoice.
new text end

new text begin (b) The notice must include:
new text end

new text begin (1) the provider's name and mailing address;
new text end

new text begin (2) a narrative describing the nature and purpose of the intended easement use;
new text end

new text begin (3) a description of any trenching or other underground work expected to result from
the intended use, and the anticipated time frame for the work;
new text end

new text begin (4) a phone number for an employee of the provider that the property owner may contact
regarding the easement; and
new text end

new text begin (5) the following statement, in bold red lettering: "It is important to make any challenge
by the deadline to preserve any legal rights you may have."
new text end

new text begin (c) The provider must file copies of the notices with the county recorder.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Action for damages. new text end

new text begin (a) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, this
subdivision governs an action under this section and is the exclusive means to bring a claim
for compensation with respect to a notice of intent to use a provider's existing easement to
install broadband infrastructure and provide broadband service.
new text end

new text begin (b) Within six months after the date notice is received under subdivision 3, a property
owner may file an action seeking to recover damages for a provider's use of an existing
easement to install broadband infrastructure and provide broadband service. Claims for
damages under $15,000 may be brought in conciliation court.
new text end

new text begin (c) To initiate an action under this subdivision, a property owner must serve a complaint
upon the provider in the same manner as in a civil action and must file the complaint with
the district court for the county in which the easement is located. The complaint must state
whether the property owner:
new text end

new text begin (1) challenges the provider's right to use the easement for broadband services or
infrastructure as provided under subdivision 5, paragraph (a);
new text end

new text begin (2) seeks damages as provided under subdivision 5, paragraph (b); or
new text end

new text begin (3) seeks to proceed under both clauses (1) and (2).
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Deposit and hearing required. new text end

new text begin (a) If a property owner files a complaint
challenging a provider's right to use an easement to install broadband infrastructure and
provide broadband service, after the provider answers the complaint, the district court must
promptly hold a hearing on the complaint. If the district court denies the property owner's
complaint, the provider may proceed to use the easement to install broadband infrastructure
and provide broadband service, unless the complaint also seeks damages. If the complaint
seeks damages, the provider may proceed under paragraph (b).
new text end

new text begin (b) If a property owner files a claim for damages, a provider may, after answering the
complaint, deposit with the court administrator an amount equal to the provider's estimate
of damages. A provider's estimate of damages must be no less than $1. After the estimated
damages are deposited, the provider may use the existing easement to install broadband
infrastructure and provide broadband service, conditioned on an obligation, filed with the
court administrator, to pay the amount of damages determined by the court.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Calculation of damages; burden of proof. new text end

new text begin (a) In an action under this section
involving a property owner's claim for damages:
new text end

new text begin (1) the property owner has the burden to prove the existence and amount of any net
reduction in the fair market value of the property, considering the existence, installation,
construction, maintenance, modification, operation, repair, replacement, or removal of
broadband infrastructure in the easement, adjusted to reflect any increase in the property's
fair market value resulting from access to broadband service;
new text end

new text begin (2) a court is prohibited from awarding consequential or special damages; and
new text end

new text begin (3) evidence of estimated revenue, profits, fees, income, or similar benefits accruing to
the provider, the provider's affiliate, or a third party as a result of use of the easement is
inadmissible.
new text end

new text begin (b) Any fees or costs incurred as a result of an action under this subdivision must be
paid by the party that incurred the fees or costs, except that a provider is responsible for a
property owner's attorney fees if the final judgment or award of damages by the court exceeds
140 percent of the provider's damage deposit made under subdivision 5, if applicable.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin No limits on existing easement. new text end

new text begin Nothing in this section limits in any way a
provider's existing easement rights.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 8. new text end

new text begin Local governmental right-of-way management preserved. new text end

new text begin The placement
of broadband infrastructure to provide broadband service under subdivisions 2 to 7 is subject
to local government permitting and right-of-way management authority under section
237.163, and must be coordinated with the relevant local government unit in order to
minimize potential future relocations. The provider must notify a local government unit
prior to placing infrastructure for broadband service in an easement that is in or adjacent to
the local government unit's public right-of-way.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end