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  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE II EXECUTIVE AND ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS
    OF THE COMMONWEALTH
  • CHAPTER 23A DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
  • Section 3 Divisions; directors

Section 3. (a) MOBD shall contain the following 4 divisions: business services, entrepreneurial and small business development, wireless and broadband development and manufacturing development. Each division shall be under the charge of a director subject to the direction, control and supervision of the director of economic development. Each director shall be a person of skill and experience in the field of his appointment and shall be appointed and may be removed by the executive director, with the approval of the secretary, and shall serve until so removed. The position of director shall not be subject to section 9A of chapter 30 or chapter 31. Each director shall devote his full time during business hours to the duties of his office. The MOBD executive director may authorize any director to exercise in his name any power, or to discharge in his name any duty, assigned to him by law, and he may at any time revoke the authority.

(b) The function of the director of wireless and broadband development, hereinafter the director, created pursuant to subsection (a) shall be to facilitate access to high speed connectivity and telecommunications in the commonwealth, with a special interest in increasing the presence of affordable, state-of-the-art wireless internet, cellular and broadband access across the commonwealth to promote economic development, meet the commonwealth’s homeland security and emergency preparedness needs, improve government efficiency, and improve the quality of life for the commonwealth’s residents. The director shall, in consultation with the Massachusetts Broadband Institute established pursuant to section 6B of chapter 40J, develop a state telecommunications plan to ensure extensive wireless internet, cellular and broadband access for every community within the commonwealth. The duties and powers of the director shall include, but not be limited to, the following: (1) identifying communities that lack affordable and competitive wireless internet, cellular and broadband service; (2) identifying areas where, due to geographic remoteness, sparsity of population or other considerations, private-sector capital investment in wireless internet, cellular and broadband facilities deployment is not sufficient to meet the present and future needs of the area, and in those areas (i) develop strategies, including but not limited to, public-sector partnerships, including aggregation of demand, as a means to increase the presence of affordable, state-of-the-art wireless internet, cellular and broadband access; and (ii) facilitate the development of private, joint public-private, or public initiatives which afford open, competitive, content-neutral wireless internet, cellular and broadband services accessible via multiple carriers; (3) examining and identifying the best practices of other states, municipalities, and foreign governments relative to achieving wireless internet, cellular and broadband connectivity in underserved areas, including, but not limited to, the creation of public entities to facilitate the introduction of wireless internet, cellular and broadband services to underserved areas; (4) identifying state-of-the-art technologies that are well-suited to bring wireless internet, cellular and broadband service into underserved communities; (5) conducting a survey and analysis of all state owned lands to identify specific state lands that, if made available for the purpose, would facilitate the deployment of wireless internet, cellular and broadband technologies and services to achieve service in underserved areas; (6) working in conjunction with the executive office of transportation and construction, the division of capital asset management and maintenance and other appropriate state, regional and municipal agencies, develop a plan to ensure that each state construction project, including but not limited to, buildings, roads and bridges shall include access for wireless internet, cellular and broadband infrastructure or enable future deployment of wireless internet, cellular and broadband infrastructure, including appropriate design for placement of wires, wireless arrays, and poles and pole attachments; (7) investigating the development of wireless internet, cellular and broadband systems for downtown areas, commencing with areas of high growth, and working in consultation with the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, established by section 6B of chapter 40J of the General Laws, to develop demonstration projects to facilitate wireless access in underserved small-to-mid sized communities; (8) investigating ways to financially support increased wireless internet, cellular and broadband connectivity, including a state universal service fund for the purpose; (9) examining the feasibility of establishing a universal statewide right of way fee to reduce the time from permit application to local approval, in order to promote wireless internet, cellular and broadband facilities deployment; (10) identifying any state law or regulation that hampers the expansion of wireless internet, cellular and broadband services or provides unreasonable competitive advantages to regulated, telecommunications carriers or cable operators, including access to, or use of, municipal or other facilities or rights-of-way; (11) working with the department of telecommunications and cable and other appropriate state agencies and private parties to identify the locations of dark fiber and telecommunications tower access areas owned by telecommunications companies in the commonwealth; (12) identifying federal regulations and statutes that impede the deployment of wireless internet, cellular and broadband facilities and services and advocating before the United States Congress and the Federal Communications Commission for appropriate amendment of these federal policies; and (13) taking other actions considered necessary to fulfill the goal of establishing a competitive wireless internet, cellular and broadband market within the commonwealth. The director of broadband development shall work in consultation with Massachusetts Broadband Institute, established by section 6B of chapter 40J of the General Laws. Notwithstanding the requirements of subsection (a), the director of wireless and broadband development shall have extensive experience in the broadband, telecommunications or data communications industry, including, but not limited to, the utilization of market-based strategies to induce wireless internet, cellular or broadband deployment, the creation of public entities to facilitate wireless internet, cellular and broadband deployment, and a demonstrated knowledge of state-of-the-art technologies that bring wireless internet, cellular and broadband to underserved areas, including, but not limited to, wireless technologies. The director of wireless and broadband development shall annually, no later than December 31, submit a report, including any recommendations for legislation, to the secretary of the executive office of economic development, the director of the department of business and technology, the commissioner of telecommunications and cable, the chairpersons of the house and senate committees on ways and means, the chairpersons of the joint committee on economic development and emerging technologies and the chairpersons of the joint committee on telecommunications, utilities and energy.

(c) MOBD, with assistance from the office of small business and entrepreneurship, and in consultation with the secretary of housing and economic development, the office of consumer affairs and business regulation and the department of housing and community development, shall develop, operate and maintain a searchable website accessible by the public at no cost, to provide information on public and private resources available to small businesses and to promote small businesses in the commonwealth. Information made available through the searchable website shall include, but shall not be limited to:

(1) information on state, local, federal and private sector small business counseling and technical assistance programs;

(2) information on state, local and federal financing programs;

(3) information on state, local and federal procurement and contracting programs and opportunities, including information on the regional economic development organizations under the program established in sections 3J and 3K and opportunities;

(4) information on state incorporation laws and regulations, and the changes to state incorporation laws and regulations;

(5) information on state tax credits;

(6) small business impact statements, as required under sections 2 and 3 of chapter 30A;

(7) information on workers’ compensation laws, unemployment insurance laws and the health insurance obligations and options for employers; and

(8) other information and resources, as determined by the director of business development.