Transportation and Telecommunications

State broadband office approved

An omnibus telecommunications measure passed the final round of debate May 23.

LB683, as introduced by the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee, creates the Nebraska Broadband Office to administer and maintain broadband services in Nebraska. A director will be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Legislature to lead the office, which will operate administratively under the Nebraska Department of Transportation.

Broadband services were under the purview of the Public Service Commission, a five-member elected body that regulates a variety of transportation and telecommunications industries in Nebraska.

Among other provisions, LB683 requires the new office to coordinate state broadband infrastructure deployment, operation and maintenance and transfers the creation and maintenance of the state broadband map from the PSC to the new Nebraska Broadband Office.

The bill was amended to add provisions of several additional bills considered by the committee this session, including LB63, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Eliot Bostar. The measure prohibits a telecommunications company from using Nebraska universal service funds if the company is using or providing communications equipment or service that poses a threat to national security.

LB683 passed on a vote of 39-0 and takes effect immediately.

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