On February 17, 2023, Assembly Bill 1588 (Wilson) was introduced to create the Affordable Internet and Net Equality Act of 2023. AB 1588 would add Government Code Section 11548.5.
AB 1588 would define the following terms: “affordable home internet service,” “commercial mobile service,” “eligible household,” “internet,” “internet service,” “minimum speed requirements,” “overall goals for adoption,” “private mobile service,” “qualified public assistance programs,” and “qualified internet service provider.”
In addition, the Department of Technology, in coordination with the Public Utilities Commission and the Department of General Services, is required to develop and establish the Net Equality Program. State agencies would be required to do business only with an internet service provider doing business in California that offers affordable home internet service to all eligible households.
All eligible households must be allowed to immediately convert to affordable home internet service during the month that the household qualifies as an eligible household. A qualified internet service provider would be required to establish a telephone number with trained personnel.
In addition, a qualified internet service provider would have to advertise the availability of affordable home internet service and the federal Affordable Connectivity Program or an equivalent program offered by the Federal Communications Commission, including by providing a telephone number for interested persons to call.
A qualified internet service provider would have to meet annually with the Department of Technology and the California Broadband Council in an open workshop with key stakeholders to confer on how to achieve the overall goals for adoption and explore options for establishing and advancing strategic and effective public-private partnerships. An annual report by the qualified internet service provide would also be required.
Finally, this section would not apply to specified state departments, as well as to cities and counties.
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