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Loebsack Introduces Legislation to Improve Rural Wireless Coverage

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Washington, March 16, 2017 | Joe Hand (202-225-6576) | comments
Congressman Dave Loebsack introduced legislation today that would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish standards for collecting wireless coverage data. Currently, there are no standards that define how wireless coverage is determined, meaning that coverage maps can be incomplete or inaccurate. Without accurate coverage maps, resources needed to improve wireless access will not be directed to the areas that need the most help, including rural areas. The Rural Wireless Access Act of 2017 (HR 1546) will help make sure maps are accurate so that resources to improve wireless voice and mobile Internet services go to the areas that need it the most.

This legislation was introduced as part of a package of Energy and Commerce Committee bills aimed at improving economic opportunity for all Americans. Rural wireless access is critical to keeping rural communities competitive and ensuring all Americans have access to the communication technologies that are driving innovation.

“It is clear to anyone who lives in Iowa, or has traveled across the state, that wireless coverage can be lacking. As I drive through the 24 counties in my district, I often have calls dropped or cannot get a strong signal. Unfortunately, the data that the FCC uses to improve coverage doesn’t tell the same story,” said Loebsack. “We can’t invest in wireless access without accurately understanding the problem. This legislation would make sure that the FCC is using the best data to improve wireless coverage throughout rural America. Not only does building out wireless access create jobs, but it is necessary for our rural communities to thrive and be competitive in the 21st Century.”

“Expanding broadband to places without access attracts new businesses and new opportunities. At a time when so many Americans are feeling uncertainty in their lives, we have a responsibility to help. I commend Congressman Loebsack for his leadership in expanding wireless access to areas that need it most,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.).

A significant digital divide remains between urban and rural America. Congressman Loebsack is a leader in working to close this divide by promoting broadband deployment throughout rural America. Loebsack serves on the Communications and Technology subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over telecommunications issues. He also serves as a co-chair of the Rural Broadband Caucus.
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