House passes broadband DATA Act

WASHINGTON – Today, Representatives Dave Loebsack (IA-02) and Bob Latta (OH-05) authors of the “Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act (HR 4229), along with its cosponsors, Reps. Billy Long (MO-07) and Donald McEachin (VA-04) issued the following statements praising the House passage of the bill.

The Broadband DATA Act is bipartisan legislation that would improve the accuracy of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) broadband availability maps by changing the way broadband data is collected. The bill now heads to the Senate where similar legislation has been introduced Senators Amy Klobuchar (MN), Roger Wicker (MS), Gary Peters (MI) and John Thune (SD).

LOEBSACK

“In 2019, it is simply unacceptable that many families, small businesses, farmers, educators and healthcare providers in rural areas don’t have the necessary access to high-speed internet. When this bill becomes law, we will finally begin to fix the bad broadband maps that for too long have often misstated speed and availability,” said Congressman Dave Loebsack. 

“I have often said there are two things needed to connect rural America to highspeed broadband and that is dollars and data. But without reliable data, the dollars do not matter. Garbage in, is garbage out. You have to have good data to know where the problems exist, otherwise it is a waste of taxpayer dollars. I am pleased that the Broadband DATA Act, which will help address those issues, has passed the House. I look forward to working with the Senate to get the Broadband DATA Act to the President’s desk.”

“Our country’s technological capabilities are revolutionizing the way Americans communicate and work with each other, but due to inaccuracies in our maps that identify where people can and cannot access the internet, some people are being left behind. The passage of this bill means more Americans, whether they live in urban, suburban, or rural communities, will be able to participate in our 21st century economy, because we will be able to better pinpoint where internet access is lacking so that funding can be appropriately dispersed to areas that need it most. I encourage my colleagues in the Senate to swiftly consider this bill so people across the country can engage in the digital age,” said Congressman Bob Latta.

“It is unacceptable that many Virginians and people across our country, particularly in rural and underserved communities, lack access to high-speed internet,” said Congressman A. Donald McEachin. “The Broadband DATA Act will help ensure we have a more complete understanding of broadband availability – and thus bring much-needed, high-speed internet to all of our constituents. I urge my Senate colleagues to consider this bill immediately so that all Americans have access to fast, reliable, and affordable broadband internet services.”

“It’s crucial that federal broadband programs are using accurate data and up-to-date maps. The federal government spends billions of dollars each year on rural broadband deployment, yet millions of Americans lack basic access to broadband services. For rural communities, such as those in Missouri, knowing where broadband is and is not available at certain speeds will go a long way in closing the digital divide. I’m grateful for the strong, bipartisan support as we work towards a more connected future, and I commend my colleagues, Reps. Donald McEachin, Dave Loebsack and Bob Latta for their hard work on the Broadband DATA Act,” said Congressman Billy Long.

Specifically, the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act would:

  • require the FCC to collect granular service availability data from wired, fixed wireless, and satellite broadband providers;
  • require strong parameters for service availability data collected from mobile broadband providers to ensure accuracy;
  • and create a challenge process for consumers, state, local, and Tribal governments, and other groups to challenge FCC maps with their own data, and requires the FCC to determine how to structure the process without making it overly burdensome on challengers.

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