Broadband for Everyone in Louisiana Commission
WHEREAS, universal access to broadband service for all Louisiana residents is a key competitive factor for economic development and quality of life in the new global marketplace;
WHEREAS, universal connectivity, particularly in rural areas, is needed for attracting new and expanding business and to facilitate education and training, health care and government services;
WHEREAS, the state of Louisiana has adopted a statewide broadband plan with the goal of improving both the adoption and availability of broadband service for Louisiana residents by providing universal access to broadband service with minimum committed speed of 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload, scalable to up to 100 Mbps download and 100 Mbps upload, for all Louisianans by 2029; and
WHEREAS, there exists a necessity to create a broadband commission to serve as the lead facilitator to collaborate with all sectors to successfully execute the statewide broadband plan while embracing all communities to encourage broadband adoption and availability.
NOW THEREFORE, I, JOHN BEL EDWARDS, Governor of the State of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and laws of the State of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct as follows:
SECTION 1: The Broadband for Everyone in Louisiana Commission is hereby created within the governor's office and shall consist of twenty-three members, including sixteen ex officio members and seven members appointed by the governor.
SECTION 2: The commission shall focus on the following two pillars:
1. Adoption. The commission shall encourage adoption of broadband services by:
a. Working with private broadband providers to identify and inventory all low-cost broadband programs currently offered by Internet service providers in Louisiana;
b. Publishing the available programs on the Governor’s Office website and publicizing these programs in communications and events;
c. Developing a survey to identify areas of the state where broadband adoption rates fall below the state- or national-average;
d. Identifying communities without low-cost broadband programs and identifying potential partners to launch new programs where needed;
e. Working with private broadband providers, educational institutions, parish and municipal governments, non-profit organizations, and other stakeholders to identify barriers to adoption by individuals and families in Louisiana; and
f. Taking an inventory of best practices for adoption programs and identifying opportunities to use public and private resources to encourage adoption programs that turn Louisiana households in to broadband households.
2. Availability. The commission shall encourage the expansion of broadband networks by:
a. Identifying barriers restraining broadband deployment and propose solutions to the Governor on a quarterly basis;
b. Encouraging partnerships throughout Louisiana to maximize state and federal grant funding for broadband deployment;
c. Celebrating broadband build-outs throughout the state, including providers utilizing FCC, USDA, State Grant (where applicable), and other programs designed to accelerate broadband deployment;
d. Developing a survey for providers to ascertain barriers and opportunities to accelerate the construction of broadband;
e. Surveying governmental entities and existing providers on any buildings and/or assets in need of broadband services;
f. Researching and recommending the viability of local governments creating or expanding special assessment districts to assist in deploying broadband in unserved and underserved areas;
g. Leveraging available federal and state E-Rate funding opportunities, with the immediate goal of achieving 100% of Louisiana’s school buildings and libraries gaining access to broadband services; and
h. Collecting, aggregating, and disseminating from the provider community best practices.
SECTION 3: The members of the Commission shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the governor and shall be comprised of up to twenty-three (23) members. Of the members appointed by the governor, one member shall be selected from each of the following:
A. The Public Service Commission;
B. A list of three nominees submitted by the Louisiana Municipal Association;
C. A list of three nominees submitted by the Louisiana Police Jury Association;
D. A list of three private sector individuals submitted by electric utility companies doing business within the state;
E. A list of three private sector individuals submitted by the Internet and Television Association (LCTA);
F. A list of three private sector individuals submitted by the Louisiana Telecommunications Association (LTA); and
G. A list of three private sector individuals submitted by the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA).
SECTION 4: The appointed members of the commission shall represent the geographic, gender, and racial diversity of the state.
SECTION 5: Commission members shall not receive additional compensation or a per diem from the Office of the Governor for serving on the Commission.
Commission members who are an employee or an elected public official of the State of Louisiana or a political subdivision of the State of Louisiana may seek reimbursement of travel expenses, in accordance with PPM 49, from their employing and/or elected department, agency and/or office.
Commission members who are also a member of the Louisiana Legislature may seek a per diem from the Louisiana State Senate or House of Representatives, as appropriate, for their attendance.
SECTION 6: The governor shall convene the first meeting of the commission and shall designate the chairman. The commission shall elect a vice-chairman and such other officers as it deems necessary.
SECTION 7: All members of the commission shall remain in office until their successors are appointed. All vacancies shall be filled in the same manner prescribed herein for the remainder of the unexpired term.
SECTION 8: The commission shall meet at least quarterly and at such other times upon the call of the chairman or a majority of the members.
SECTION 9: A quorum to transact business shall be a majority of the members of the commission.
SECTION 10: This Order is effective upon signature and shall continue in effect until amended, modified, terminated, or rescinded by the Governor, or terminated by operation of law.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand officially and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Louisiana in the City of Baton Rouge, on this 29th day of August, 2019.
John Bel Edwards
Secretary of State