WASHINGTON, D.C. – Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) today urged the United States Senate to adopt a bill that would improve the quality of federal and state broadband data collection. The Broadband Data Improvement Act (S. 1492) would also encourage initiatives that promote broadband deployment.
“For America to keep pace with the rest of the world in the digital age, we need well-informed broadband policy. But we cannot have good broadband policy based on bad broadband data. This is why I call on the Senate to take up and pass the Broadband Data Improvement Act,” said Senator Inouye. “Following the overwhelming support that lead the House to approve its broadband mapping bill, I remain convinced that the Senate can adopt this measure quickly. America’s broadband policy cannot move at dial-up speed. The world will not wait for us.”
A Pew Research Center study released yesterday found there is “no systematically collected and publicly available sources of data on adoption and deployment of broadband” in America, especially at the local level. Pew researchers cited the need for government to take the lead in collecting such data.
Senator Inouye’s Broadband Data Improvement Act directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Census Bureau to collect more granular broadband data. Specifically, the measure:
- Requires providers to report the actual numbers of broadband connections either within a census tract, 9-digit postal zip code, or 5-digit postal zip code;
- Requires the FCC to conduct inquiries into the deployment of advanced telecommunications services on an annual basis;
- Requires the Census Bureau to include a question in its American Community Survey that assesses levels of residential computer use and determines levels of dial-up versus broadband Internet subscribership; and
- Authorizes a 5-year, $40 million per year program that would provide matching grants to state non-profit, public-private partnerships in support of efforts to more accurately identify barriers to broadband adoption throughout the state.