Today, the House Energy & Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee marked up the “Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act (Broadband DATA Act).” The bill would improve broadband mapping data accuracy at the Federal Communications Commission. Public Knowledge supports requiring the FCC to collect more granular data to generate more accurate and detailed maps of broadband access across the nation, but cautions that ignoring both the quality and the cost of broadband jeopardizes efforts to close the digital divide.
The following can be attributed to Jenna Leventoff, Senior Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:
“Broadband is an essential part of modern life — it helps people obtain an education, advance in their careers, access government services, and even receive medical treatment. We are pleased to see Congress recognize the importance of understanding where broadband is and is not available throughout the United States. Granular data that details where broadband is available helps policymakers and regulators target policies and Universal Service Fund dollars to close the digital divide and ensure all Americans have access to the broadband they need and deserve.
“That said, knowing where broadband is and is not available is not enough. Consumers and policymakers need to know the quality of that broadband as well. Is that broadband slower than the speed consumers have been promised? Are there frequent service outages? Does it get fixed quickly following a natural disaster? These types of problems can make consumers feel as though they don’t have broadband access at all, and make it difficult for consumers to get the benefits of the broadband service they’re paying for.
“Moreover, it is essential that policymakers understand the price of available broadband. If broadband isn’t affordable, then it isn’t accessible. We urge Congress to require the FCC to collect both quality and cost data as a part of the agency’s broadband mapping efforts to create a more complete picture of broadband access across the nation.”
View our recent blog post, “Public Knowledge Warns Broadband Report Not Based on Quality Data,” for more information on the FCC’s latest broadband deployment report. You may also view our comments on the report.
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