USTelecom was celebrating passage Thursday (Dec. 19) of the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act, which passed the Senate unanimously as Congress wraps up business before the holiday break.
The bill passed the House earlier this week.
“The House and now the Senate have both decisively acted to transform the country’s obsolete broadband maps to get a clearer picture of who has – and who still lacks – access to broadband, the 21st century’s indispensable resource," said Jonathan Spalter, president and CEO of USTelecom. "Under the leadership of Senators Wicker, Peters, Thune and Klobuchar, Congress has adopted a state-of-the-art technology and data driven plan to modernize the national broadband coverage maps with the express purpose of increasing deployment in rural America."
The bill requires the FCC to issue new rules "to require the collection and dissemination of granular broadband availability data and to establish a process to verify the accuracy of such data, and more."
The bill essentially pushes an effort already underway at the FCC. The commission voted earlier this year to come up with a more granular broadband data collection process that could be crowd-vetted.
Virtually all sides agree that the FCC's broadband mapping is unwerwhelming and needs improvement, especially since it is used to determine where broadband deficits need addressing and whether the FCC is fulfilling its Congressional mandate to deploy broadband on a reasonable and timely basis.