On Wednesday, the Assembly Committee on Appropriations referred Assembly Bill 2749, authored by Assemblymember Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton), to the suspense file. AB 2749 establishes a “shot clock” for the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to process Federal Funding Account (FFA) and California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) grant applications. If the CPUC does not provide a decision on the application within 120 days, AB 2749 requires that the application be deemed approved for funding. While it is important to quickly release broadband funding, especially those monies provided through federal Coronavirus Relief Funds, allowing applications to be approved based on receipt, regardless of the merits of the proposed project, is harmful to all applicants. In particular, the CPUC has established a detailed scoring system to evaluate FFA applications based on the state’s broadband deployment priorities, providing preference points for certain types of projects such as fiber connectivity and municipal partnerships. This evaluation system adopted by the CPUC becomes ineffectual under the provisions of AB 2749.
The Assembly will review the suspense file before May 20th to determine which measures will continue forward for a vote on the Assembly floor. RCRC has an oppose unless amended position on AB 2749. View RCRC’s letter here. For more information, please contact RCRC Senior Policy Advocate, Tracy Rhine.