Today, Representatives Dave Loebsack (IA-02) and Bob Latta (OH-05) introduced bipartisan legislation that would improve the accuracy of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) broadband availability maps. The “Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act (HR 4229)’’ will improve the accuracy of FCC broadband data maps by changing the way broadband data is collected. The legislation is cosponsored by Reps. Billy Long (MO-07) and Donald McEachin (VA-04). Legislation similar to the Broadband DATA Act has been introduced in the Senate by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (MN), Roger Wicker (MS), Gary Peters (MI) and John Thune (SD).
Additionally, Reps. McEachin and Long introduced today the “Mapping Accuracy Promotes Services (MAPS) Act (HR 4227),” which will help hold broadband providers accountable by making it against the law to knowingly provide inaccurate data to the FCC. Reps. Loebsack and Latta also cosponsored this bill.
“In 2019, it is unacceptable that many families, small businesses, farmers, educators and healthcare providers in rural areas don’t have the necessary access to high-speed internet,” said Congressman Dave Loebsack. “In order to actually fix the problem and get high-speed broadband to rural areas, we must have the best data available. Without knowing where the high-speed broadband problem truly exists, we cannot properly invest in building out access. Folks simply can’t compete in the 21st Century economy we live in without access to high-speed broadband internet.”
“Rural communities like much of Ohio’s 5th District often struggle with having access to fast, reliable broadband. Unfortunately, without this access it is difficult for them to do their jobs, finish their homework, and stay connected to friends and family. With this legislation, we’ll be better able to pinpoint areas that are lacking coverage, and help ensure that unserved and underserved communities have better broadband availability,” said Congressman Bob Latta.
“It is simple: we cannot expand broadband Internet to rural and underserved communities if we do not know first where broadband service is needed,” said Congressman A. Donald McEachin. “This means we need better coverage maps, which in turn requires Internet service providers to submit accurate coverage data to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Our legislation, the Mapping Accuracy Promotes Services Act, or MAPS Act, will make it unlawful for providers to knowingly, willfully, or recklessly provide inaccurate data to the FCC. The MAPS Act, together with the legislation from Congressman Loebsack and Ranking Member Latta, will ensure that we have a more complete understanding of broadband availability—and thus help bring much-needed, high-speed Internet to our constituents.”
“I’m proud to join Reps. McEachin, Loebsack and Latta in sponsoring legislation that improves broadband maps,” said Congressman Billy Long. “For rural communities, such as those in Missouri’s 7th Congressional District, access to broadband is scarce. This bill would take the necessary steps to inform providers who is and is not connected.”
Specifically, the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act:
• Requires the FCC to collect granular service availability data from wired, fixed wireless, and satellite broadband providers.
• Requires strong parameters for service availability data collected from mobile broadband providers to ensure accuracy.
• Asks the FCC to consider whether to collect verified coverage data from state, local, and tribal governments, as well as from other entities.
• Creates a process for consumers, state, local, and Tribal governments, and other groups to challenge FCC maps with their own data, and requires the FCC to determine how to structure the process without making it overly burdensome on challengers.
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