The bill makes key statutory changes governing electric co-op participation in broadband deployment including:
-Allowing cooperatives to offset the up-front costs of providing broadband by modifying North Carolina statute to allow electric cooperatives to access federal funds, including U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Broadband funding, and providing greater flexibility to electric cooperatives when structuring partnership/lease terms with broadband partners and subsidiaries;
-Clarifying that it is permissible to use existing electric cooperative fiber deployed primarily for electrical purposes for the secondary purpose of providing broadband services; and
-Limiting electric cooperatives’ exposure to liability when they make dual-use of their fiber to provide broadband services.
Eligible Recipients Detail:
Last Mile Connectivity; Middle Mile Connectivity
Eligible Purpose Detail:
Cooperative broadband financing and operations.