S 1




Short Title: Counties/Internet Infrastructure.



Senators J. Davis, Ballard, Foushee (Primary Sponsors); Clark, D. Davis, Lee, Lowe, Rabin, and Van Duyn.

Referred to:

Rules and Operations of the Senate

March 8, 2017


AN ACT authorizing counties to provide high‑speed internet access service as a public enterprise.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1. G.S. 153A‑274 reads as rewritten:

" 153A‑274. Public enterprise defined.

As used in this Article, "public enterprise" includes:

(1) Water supply and distribution systems.

(2) Wastewater collection, treatment, and disposal systems of all types, including septic tank systems or other on‑site collection or disposal facilities or systems.

(3) Solid waste collection and disposal systems and facilities.

(4) Airports.

(5) Off‑street parking facilities.

(6) Public transportation systems.

(7) Stormwater management programs designed to protect water quality by controlling the level of pollutants in, and the quantity and flow of, stormwater and structural and natural stormwater and drainage systems of all types.

(8) High‑speed Internet access service, as defined in G.S. 160A‑340(4)."

SECTION 2. Part 1 of Article 15 of Chapter 153A of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

" 153A‑275.1. Authority to provide high‑speed Internet access service as a public enterprise.

(a) A county may provide infrastructure, including, but not limited to, conduit, fiber‑optic cable, and fiber‑optic wire, for the purpose of expanding high‑speed Internet access service in unserved areas of the county to promote and encourage economic development in the county. The county may lease the infrastructure to unaffiliated, qualified private providers of high‑speed Internet access service. Any lease contracts under this section shall comply with the provisions of Article 8 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes and shall be awarded on a technology‑neutral basis. The county shall use only unrestricted general fund revenue to provide the infrastructure. Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit a county to provide Internet service.

(b) The following definitions apply in this section:

(1) High‑speed Internet access service. As defined in G.S. 160A‑340(4).

(2) Unserved area. As defined in G.S. 160A‑340.2(b)."

SECTION 3. This act is effective when it becomes law.