Senator Inouye Introduces Broadband Data Improvement Act

Yesterday Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) introduced the Broadband Data Improvement Act (S.1492).  The bill would force the FCC to collect better data on broadband deployment in the United States that would be used to help craft policy that would make our country a world leader in high speed internet. 

Among other things the bill would require that the FCC reevaluate the current definition of high speed internet (200 kilobits per second), create better and more accurate reporting on broadband access by nine-digit zip code, and create $40 million five-year  matching grant program for organizations engage in efforts to identify barriers to broadband adoption in their state. 

In a statement yesterday, Senator Inouye said:

The first step in an improved broadband policy is ensuring that we have better data on which to build our efforts. In a digital age, the world will not wait for us.  It is imperative that we get our broadband house in order and our communications policy right.  But we cannot manage what we do not measure.

One of the most exciting aspects of the bill is the matching grant program.  In a letter to Senator Inouye today, CWA President Larry Cohen enthusiastically supported this part of the bill:

The grants program would support mapping of broadband deployment in the state; identify gaps; establish local technology planning teams to work collaboratively with service providers to encourage deployment; establish programs to improve computer ownership and Internet access for unserved and underserved populations, among other purposes.

The Broadband Data Improvement Act is an exciting first step in creating a comprehensive national policy on high speed internet deployment in the United States.  Stay tuned to the blog for more updates as this bill moves through Congress. 

Broadband Data Improvement Act (text of bill)

Inouye Introduces Broadband Data Bill 

CWA President Larry Cohen Letter to Senator Inouye