Senate Passes Broadband Data Improvement Act

September 26, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate today passed S. 1492, the Broadband Data Improvement Act, which seeks to improve the quality of federal broadband data collection and encourages state initiatives that promote broadband deployment. The bill was sponsored by Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) and cosponsored by Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Gordon Smith (R-Ore.), Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Barbara Boxer (D-Cal.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

“If the United States is to remain a world leader in technology, we need a national broadband network that is second-to-none,” said Chairman Inouye. “The federal government has a responsibility to ensure the continued rollout of broadband access, as well as the successful deployment of the next generation of broadband technology. But as I have said before, we cannot manage what we do not measure. This bill will give us the baseline statistics we need in order to eventually achieve the successful deployment of broadband access and services to all Americans.”   
The Broadband Data Improvement Act specifically would:
  • Direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct inquiries into the deployment of advanced telecommunications services on an annual, rather than periodic, basis. 
  • Direct the Census Bureau to include a question in its American Community Survey that assesses levels of residential computer use and dial-up versus broadband Internet subscribership.
  • Direct the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to develop broadband metrics that may be used to provide consumers with broadband connection cost and capability information and improve the process of comparing the deployment and penetration of broadband in the United States with other countries. 
  • Direct the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy to conduct a study evaluating the impact of broadband speed and price on small businesses.
  • Establish a program that would provide matching grants to State non-profit, public-private partnerships in support of efforts to more accurately identify barriers to broadband adoption throughout the State.