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Below is copy of Illinois broadband extension act (High Speed Internet Services and Information Act) signed into law October 19 by Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and effective immediately. Under the Act, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will designate a statewide public-private Nonprofit charitable and educational organization to carry out (1) broadband planning and training at county/regional level, using state of the art broadband mapping, (2) broadband development and deployment projects at local and regional level, and (3) consumer education and demand aggregation activities. Funding comes from re-direction of $4 million in Eliminate the Digital Divide Infrastructure Funds from Illinois Commerce Commission, coming from the Telecom Rewrite Act of 2001, and of which $5 million was invested last fall by ICC in local and regional broadband deployment projects in rural Illinois. The NFP creation strategy is designed to enable Illinois to secure funding down the road under proposed Federal broadband planning legislation now being developed by Senator Durbin, and by parties in U.S. House.

Public Act 095-0684
SB0766 Enrolled
LRB095 05415 RCE 25505 b

AN ACT concerning State government

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly:

Section 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the High Speed Internet Services and Information Technology Act.

Section 5. Findings.

With respect to high speed Internet services and information technology, the General Assembly finds the following:

(1) The deployment and adoption of high speed Internet services and information technology has resulted in enhanced economic development and public safety for the State's communities, improved health care and educational opportunities, and a better quality of life for the State's residents.

(2) Continued progress in the deployment and adoption of high speed Internet services and information technology is vital to ensuring that this State remains competitive and continues to create business and job growth.

(3) The State must encourage and support the partnership of the public and private sectors in the continued growth of high speed Internet and information technology for the State's residents and businesses.

(4) Local governmental entities play a role in assessing the needs of their communities with respect to high speed Internet services and information technology.

Section 10. Nonprofit organization defined.

In this Act:"Nonprofit organization" means an organization that (i) is a nonprofit organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the federal Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from tax under Section 501(a) of that Code; (ii) has no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any member, founder, contributor, or individual; (iii) is organized under, subject to, and has all the powers and duties of a not-for-profit corporation under the General Not For Profit Corporation Act of 1986; (iv) has statewide representation; and (v) has a board of directors that is not composed of a majority of individuals who are also employed by, or otherwise associated with, any federal, State, or local government or agency. "Department" means the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Section 15. Enlistment of a nonprofit organization.

(a) Notwithstanding any other statute, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity shall enlist a nonprofit organization to implement a comprehensive, statewide high speed Internet deployment strategy and demand creation initiative with the purpose of:

(1) ensuring that all State residents and businesses have access to affordable and reliable high speed Internet service;

(2) achieving improved technology literacy, increased computer ownership, and home high speed Internet use among State residents and businesses;

(3) establishing and empowering local technology planning teams in each county to plan for improved technology use across multiple community sectors; and

(4) establishing and sustaining an environment ripe for high speed Internet access and technology investment statewide.

(b) The nonprofit organization shall have an established competency and proven record of working with public and private sectors to accomplish wide-scale deployment and adoption of broadband and information technology in Illinois.

(c) The Department shall adopt rules regarding the enlistment of a nonprofit organization.

Section 20. Duties of the enlisted nonprofit organization.

(a) The high speed Internet deployment strategy and demand creation initiative to be performed by the nonprofit organization shall include, but not be limited to, the following actions:

(1) Create a geographic statewide inventory of high speed Internet service and other relevant broadband and information technology services. The inventory shall:

(A) identify geographic gaps in high speed Internet service through a method of GIS mapping of service availability and GIS analysis at the census block level; and

(B) provide a baseline assessment of statewide high speed Internet deployment in terms of percentage of Illinois households with high speed Internet availability.

(2) Track and identify, through customer interviews and surveys and other publicly available sources, statewide residential and business adoption of high speed Internet, computers, and related information technology and any barriers to adoption.

(3) Build and facilitate in each county or designated region a local technology planning team with members representing a cross section of the community, including, but not limited to, representatives of business, K-12 education, health care, libraries, higher education, community-based organizations, local government, tourism, parks and recreation, and agriculture. Each team shall benchmark technology use across relevant community sectors, set goals for improved technology use within each sector, and develop a plan for achieving its goals, with specific recommendations for online application development and demand creation.

(4) Collaborate with high speed Internet providers and technology companies to encourage deployment and use, especially in underserved areas, by aggregating local demand, mapping analysis, and creating market intelligence to improve the business case for providers to deploy.

(5) Collaborate with the Department in developing a program to increase computer ownership and broadband access for disenfranchised populations across the State. The program may include grants to local community technology centers that provide technology training, promote computer ownership, and increase broadband access.

(b) The nonprofit organization may apply for federal grants consistent with the objectives of this Act.

(c) The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity shall use the funds in the High Speed Internet Services and Information Technology Fund to (1) provide grants to the nonprofit organization enlisted under this Act and (2) for any costs incurred by the Department to administer this Act.

(d) The nonprofit organization shall have the power to obtain or to raise funds other than the grants received from the Department under this Act.

(e) The nonprofit organization and its Board of Directors shall exist separately and independently from the Department and any other governmental entity, but shall cooperate with other public or private entities it deems appropriate in carrying out its duties.

(f) Notwithstanding anything in this Act or any other Act to the contrary, any information that is designated confidential or proprietary by an entity providing the information to the nonprofit organization or any other entity to accomplish the objectives of this Act shall be deemed confidential, proprietary, and a trade secret and treated by the nonprofit organization or anyone else possessing the information as such and shall not be disclosed.

(g) The nonprofit organization shall provide a report to the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability on an annual basis for the first 3 complete State fiscal years following its enlistment.

Section 25. Scope of authority.

Nothing in this Act shall be construed as giving the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the nonprofit organization, or other entities any additional authority, regulatory or otherwise, over providers of telecommunications, broadband, and information technology.

Section 30. High Speed Internet Services and Information Technology Fund.

(a) There is created in the State treasury a special fund to be known as the High Speed Internet Services and Information Technology Fund, to be used, subject to appropriation, by the Department of Commerce and Economic Development for purposes of providing grants to the nonprofit organization enlisted under this Act.

(b) On the effective date of this Act, $4,000,000 in the Digital Divide Elimination Infrastructure Fund shall be transferred to the High Speed Internet Services and Information Technology Fund. Nothing contained in this subsection (b) shall affect the validity of grants issued with moneys from the Digital Divide Elimination Infrastructure Fund before June 30, 2007.

Section 35. Local broadband projects.

Any municipality or county may undertake local broadband projects and the provision of services in connection therewith; may lease infrastructure that it owns or controls; may aggregate customers or demand for broadband services; may apply for and receive funds or technical assistance to undertake such projects to address the level of broadband access available to its businesses and residents. To the extent that it seeks to serve as a retail provider of telecommunications services, the municipality or county shall be required to obtain appropriate certification from the Illinois Commerce Commission as a telecommunications carrier.

Section 90. The State Finance Act is amended by adding

Section 5.675 as follows:

(30 ILCS 105/5.675 new)
Sec. 5.675. The High Speed Internet Services and Information Technology Fund.

Section 99. Effective date.

This Act takes effect upon becoming law. Effective Date: 10/19/2007