The Senate late Tuesday passed S.1822, the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act. The bill is on its way to the president’s desk to be signed into law. Introduced by Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the bill will create a new national broadband map.
“Flawed broadband maps are a huge problem for rural and underserved communities,” said Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS). “Accurate maps will pave the way for more Americans to access high-speed broadband and the economic opportunities that come with it. I expect the FCC and other federal agencies to use these new maps when awarding funding in future broadband programs.”
“We are one step closer to closing the digital divide,” said Amy Klobuchar (D-MN.) “This bill will improve the broadband data collection process to create more accurate maps so that we can bring high-speed internet to every family, regardless of their zip code.”
- Require the FCC to collect granular service availability data from wired, fixed wireless, and satellite broadband providers.
- Set strong parameters for service availability data collected from mobile broadband providers to ensure accuracy.
- Permit the FCC to consider whether to collect verified coverage data from state, local, and tribal governments, as well as from other entities.
- Create a process for consumers; state, local, and tribal governments; and other groups to challenge FCC maps with their own data, and require the FCC to determine how to structure that process without making it overly burdensome on challengers.
- Establish a crowdsourcing process that allows the public to participate in data collection.
- Strengthen enforcement against providers that knowingly or recklessly submit materially inaccurate broadband data.
- Require the FCC to use the newly-created maps when making new awards of broadband funding.