Apr 18th 2022 | Posted in Technology by Texas Government Insider

The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) approved the first middle mile broadband rule in the state of Texas. This rule allows electric utilities to lease their excess fiber capacity to internet service providers so they can provide broadband to underserved and unserved communities in Texas.
PUC does not regulate broadband in Texas. However, this rule will help electric companies regulated by PUC partner with internet service providers and expand access to broadband in Texas.
Many ratepayer, consumer, and private property owner protections are included in the bill. Any middle mile broadband service costs cannot be passed to electric utility ratepayers. They are also not allowed to deliver internet service directly to end-use customers on a retail basis.
According to PUC Chairman Peter Lake, the infrastructure and equipment necessary are already in place, and this rule allows more collaboration with different industries.
Underserved and unserved communities will be determined using Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mapping criteria. Electric utilities contracting with internet service providers must submit implementation plans for middle mile broadband service to the PUC for approval.