S 257

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 257

To improve certain programs of the Small Business Administration to better assist small business customers in accessing broadband technology, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

February 2, 2011

Ms. LANDRIEU (for herself and Mr. KERRY) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship


A BILL

To improve certain programs of the Small Business Administration to better assist small business customers in accessing broadband technology, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Small Business Broadband and Emerging Information Technology Enhancement Act of 2011'.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds that, according to a report by the Federal Communications Commission entitled `Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan', dated March 2010, the Commission recommends that--

      (1) `To fully implement next-generation technology within its operations, the SBA should also appoint a broadband and emerging IT coordinator. This individual would ensure that SBA programs maintain the requisite broadband expertise, tools and training courses to serve small businesses.';

      (2) `Congress should consider ways to leverage existing assistance provided through' entrepreneurial development programs, `to focus training on advanced IT and broadband applications';

      (3) `Congress could also consider ways to support technology training among women entrepreneurs through' women's business centers;

      (4) `The training programs should include an entry-level `Broadband 101' course to give small businesses an introduction to how to capitalize on broadband connectivity, as well as more advanced applications for IT staff.';

      (5) small and medium enterprise `IT training should include resources for non-IT staff, such as how to use e-commerce tools for sales, streamline finance with online records or leverage knowledge management across an organization.'; and

      (6) `To facilitate the development of broadband networks, Congress should consider allowing all agencies to set the fees for access to rights-of-way for broadband services on the basis of a direct cost recovery approach, especially in markets currently underserved or unserved by any broadband service provider. The Executive Branch should also develop one or more master contracts for all federal property and buildings covering the placement of wireless towers.'.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act--

      (1) the terms `Administration' and `Administrator' mean the Small Business Administration and the Administrator thereof, respectively; and

      (2) the term `small business concern' has the meaning given that term under section 3 of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 632).

SEC. 4. BROADBAND AND EMERGING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY COORDINATOR.

    (a) In General- The Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 631 et seq.) is amended--

      (1) by redesignating section 45 as section 46; and

      (2) by inserting after section 44 the following:

`SEC. 45. BROADBAND AND EMERGING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY.

    `(a) Definition- In this section, the term `broadband and emerging information technology coordinator' means the individual assigned the broadband and emerging information technology coordination responsibilities of the Administration under subsection (b)(1).

    `(b) Assignment of Coordinator-

      `(1) ASSIGNMENT OF COORDINATOR- The Administrator shall assign responsibility for coordinating the programs and activities of the Administration relating to broadband and emerging information technology to an individual who--

        `(A) shall report directly to the Administrator;

        `(B) shall work in coordination with--

          `(i) the chief information officer, the chief technology officer, and the head of the Office of Technology of the Administration; and

          `(ii) any Associate Administrator of the Administration determined appropriate by the Administrator;

        `(C) has experience developing and implementing telecommunications policy in the private sector or government; and

        `(D) has demonstrated significant experience in the area of broadband or emerging information technology.

      `(2) RESPONSIBILITIES OF COORDINATOR- The broadband and emerging information technology coordinator shall--

        `(A) coordinate programs of the Administration that assist small business concerns in adopting, making innovations in, and using broadband and other emerging information technologies;

        `(B) serve as the primary liaison of the Administration to other Federal agencies involved in broadband and emerging information technology policy, including the Department of Commerce, the Department of Agriculture, and the Federal Communications Commission; and

        `(C) identify best practices relating to broadband and emerging information technology that may benefit small business concerns.

      `(3) TRAVEL- Not more than 20 percent of the hours of service by the broadband and emerging information technology coordinator during any fiscal year shall consist of travel outside the United States to perform official duties.

    `(c) Broadband and Emerging Technology Training-

      `(1) TRAINING- The Administrator shall provide to employees of the Administration training that--

        `(A) familiarizes employees of the Administration with broadband and other emerging information technologies; and

        `(B) includes--

          `(i) instruction counseling small business concerns regarding adopting, making innovations in, and using broadband and other emerging information technologies; and

          `(ii) information on programs of the Federal Government that provide assistance to small business concerns relating to broadband and emerging information technologies.

      `(2) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out this subsection.

    `(d) Reports-

      `(1) BIENNIAL REPORT ON ACTIVITIES- Not later than 2 years after the date on which the Administrator makes the first assignment of responsibilities under subsection (b), and every 2 years thereafter, the broadband and emerging information technology coordinator shall submit to the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship of the Senate and the Committee on Small Business of the House of Representatives a report regarding the programs and activities of the Administration relating to broadband and other emerging information technologies.

      `(2) REPORT ON FEDERAL PROGRAMS- Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this section, the broadband and emerging information technology coordinator, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, and the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, shall submit to the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship of the Senate and the Committee on Small Business of the House of Representatives a report on the programs of the Federal Government that provide assistance to small business concerns relating to broadband and emerging information technologies, which shall include recommendations, if any, for improving coordination among the programs.'.

    (b) Elimination of Vacant Position Required-

      (1) ELIMINATION- Before assigning the first broadband and emerging technologies coordinator under section 45 of the Small Business Act, as added by subsection (a) of this section, the Administrator shall--

        (A) identify a position within the Administration that is--

          (i) vacant on the date of enactment of this Act; and

          (ii) required to be filled by an employee in the Senior Executive Service or at GS-15 of the General Schedule; and

        (B) eliminate the position identified under subparagraph (A).

      (2) RESTRICTION- For purposes of paragraph (1), the Administrator may not eliminate a position established by the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 631 et seq.), the Small Business Investment Act 1958 (15 U.S.C. 661 et seq.), or any Federal statute.

SEC. 5. ENTREPRENEURIAL DEVELOPMENT.

    Section 21(c)(3)(B) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 648(c)(3)(B)) is amended--

      (1) in the matter preceding clause (i), by inserting `accessing broadband and other emerging information technology,' after `technology transfer,';

      (2) in clause (ii), by striking `and' at the end;

      (3) in clause (iii), by adding `and' at the end; and

      (4) by adding at the end the following:

        `(iv) increasing the competitiveness and productivity of small business concerns by assisting entrepreneurs in accessing broadband and other emerging information technology;'.

SEC. 6. CAPITAL ACCESS.

    (a) In General- Section 7(a) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 636(a)) is amended in the matter preceding paragraph (1) by inserting `(including to purchase equipment for broadband or other emerging information technologies)' after `equipment'.

    (b) Microloans- Section 7(m)(1)(A)(iii)(I) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 636(m)(1)(A)(iii)(I)) is amended by inserting `(including to purchase equipment for broadband or other emerging information technologies)' after `or equipment'.

SEC. 7. REPORT TO CONGRESS.

    (a) In General- Not later than 45 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator, in consultation with the Administrator of General Services, shall submit to the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship of the Senate and the Committee on Small Business of the House of Representatives a report on ways to assist with the development of broadband and wireless technology that would benefit small business concerns.

    (b) Content of the Report- The report submitted under subsection (a) shall--

      (1) outline the participation by the Administration in the National Antenna Program, including the number of wireless towers deployed on facilities which contain an office of the Administration;

      (2) information on agreements between the Administration and the General Services Administration related to broadband and wireless deployment in offices of the Administration; and

      (3) recommendations, if any, on opportunities for the Administration to improve broadband or wireless technology in offices of the Administration that are in areas currently underserved or unserved by broadband service providers.

END