Bill Text: CA SCR6 | 2011-2012 | Regular Session | Chaptered

Bill Title: Affordable housing: in-home Internet service

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Passed) 2011-08-23 - Chaptered by Secretary of State. Res. Chapter 72, Statutes of 2011. [SCR6 Detail]

Download: California-2011-SCR6-Chaptered.html


INTRODUCED BY   Senator Lowenthal

                        JANUARY 31, 2011

   Relative to affordable in-home Internet service.


   SCR 6, Lowenthal. Affordable housing: in-home Internet service
   This measure would encourage all state and local affordable
housing lenders who administer competitive multifamily housing
programs to provide competitive points for developments that will
provide high-speed in-home Internet service free of charge for at
least 10 years and recognize that in-home Internet service and
network maintenance costs be eligible as operating costs and expenses
in specified housing developments and programs.

   WHEREAS, The Internet is rapidly changing the way people live,
learn, and earn in modern society. Access to information and the
networks available on the Internet strengthens communities, opens new
markets for business, offers new workforce development
opportunities, and inspires individuals towards entrepreneurship.
Without access and training, many citizens will be unable to compete
in the increasingly technology-driven, knowledge-based economy. This
is precisely the case in California, where the disparities in levels
of technology adoption between different socioeconomic groups are
enormous. In response to this inequality, strategies have been
developed to foster digital inclusion and ensure that all people have
access to technology regardless of socioeconomic status; and
   WHEREAS, The federal government has acknowledged through its
provision of funds in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of
2009 (Public Law 111-5) that due to the immense transformative
ability of technology, lack of access has critical social
implications; and
   WHEREAS, Among California homeowners, 73 percent have a home
broadband subscription, while only 48 percent of Californians who are
renters have a broadband subscription in their home; and
   WHEREAS, Only 40 percent of California households earning less
than forty thousand dollars ($40,000) a year have home broadband
service, while 89 percent of California households earning over
eighty thousand dollars ($80,000) have a home broadband connection;
   WHEREAS, In California, 75 percent of Caucasian households have a
home broadband subscription, compared with 62 percent of African
American households and 39 percent of Latino households. At the time
of the 2009 American Community Survey, 37 percent of Californians are
Latino and 6.6 percent are African American; and
   WHEREAS, While 83 percent of college graduates in California
subscribe to broadband service in the home, only 37 percent of those
without any college education do; and
   WHEREAS, The University of California study "Crossing the Divide:
Immigrant Youth and Digital Disparity in California" concludes that
home computer use and Internet access positively impacts school
enrollment, high school graduation, and grades; and
   WHEREAS, According to the study, "Does Home Internet Use Influence
the Academic Performance of Low-Income Children?" published in the
peer-reviewed journal, Developmental Psychology, results of the
academic performance of children of low-income families with a median
annual income of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000), mostly from
single-parent households, indicate that children who used the
Internet more frequently had higher GPAs after one year and higher
scores on standardized tests of reading achievement after six months
compared to children who used it less frequently; and
   WHEREAS, Nationally, according to a 2010 report produced by John
Horrigan, formerly of the Federal Communications Commission, of the
35 percent of Americans who do not have broadband service in the
home, 36 percent stated cost as the primary reason, making this
barrier the most common reason; and
   WHEREAS, In a 2010 study on low-income communities and digital
resources, participants explicitly indicated the necessity for
broadband access in securing employment, gaining or furthering their
education, engaging with online government services, and that
inclusion in the growing digital environment was closely tied to
socioeconomic inclusion; and
   WHEREAS, Through its Low Income Housing Tax Credit program,
California has recognized the importance of Internet service for
low-income populations since 2003. The California Tax Credit
Allocation Committee (TCAC), which administers the credit in
California, amended its policy to encourage affordable housing
developers to use low-income housing tax credit funding to provide
broadband as a service amenity in affordable housing units. The
current policy allows for the cost of data network infrastructure
design and installation to be paid for with tax credit funding, and
as a result of this amendment, over 19,000 units of affordable
housing throughout the state currently enjoy in-home Internet service
as a basic service amenity; and
   WHEREAS, Currently the TCAC policy encourages, but does not
require, the inclusion of free broadband service in all publicly
supported housing. Furthermore, it does not provide an incentive or
funding stream for the operation and maintenance of these networks,
placing the financial burden on the housing developers. The nonprofit
One Economy Corporation has assisted 283 affordable housing
developments in California design and install data network
infrastructure. The operation and maintenance of the network is paid
for by the developer in 100 percent of these developments; and
   WHEREAS, Most affordable housing developments that receive tax
credit funding also borrow money from public agencies, including, but
not limited to, the Department of Housing and Community Development,
local housing departments, and local redevelopment agencies; and
   WHEREAS, Most public lenders allow for affordable housing owners
to deduct certain project operating costs before they determine the
debt payment obligations; and
   WHEREAS, Currently most lenders do not explicitly allow for
Internet service costs and network maintenance costs to be included
as eligible operating costs; and
   WHEREAS, Allowing costs of Internet service and network
maintenance would not delay the repayment of public loans and as a
result slow the reinvestment of public funds to other developments;
now, therefore, be it
   Resolved by the Senate of the State of California, the Assembly
thereof concurring, That the Legislature encourages all state and
local affordable housing lenders who administer competitive
multifamily housing programs to follow the California Tax Credit
Allocation Committee policy on high-speed Internet access by
providing competitive points for developments that will provide
high-speed Internet service to each unit for a minimum of 10 years,
free of charge to the tenants; and be it further
   Resolved, That the Legislature encourages all state and local
affordable housing lenders to recognize both the costs for installing
high-speed Internet network infrastructure as an eligible
development cost and the costs of ongoing Internet service and
network maintenance costs as eligible operating costs; and be it
   Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this
resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.