Inouye Calls for Immediate Passage of S.1492, the Broadband Data Improvement Act

September 16, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) delivered the following statement at today’s hearing on why broadband matters.

“In our hearing today we explore why broadband matters. Broadband matters because broadband communications have become the great economic engine of our time. Broadband deployment drives opportunities for business, education, and healthcare. It provides widespread access to information that can change the way we communicate with one another and improve the quality of our lives.   

“This is why our discussion today is not about pipes and providers. It is about people; our citizens stand to gain the most from universal broadband adoption. By some estimates, universal broadband adoption would add $500 billion to the U.S. economy and create more than a million new jobs.
“Add to this hundreds of millions of dollars in savings through e-government and telemedicine initiatives and untold riches we can reap by tapping the genius of web-based entrepreneurs in every corner of this country. The case for better broadband is clear.
“Still, our broadband state is not what it should be. Though controversial in some quarters, rankings from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development show the United States slipping down the international broadband ranks. As of this year, for the first time, China has a larger number of broadband subscribers than the United States.  By some measures, Asian and European countries have high-speed connections that are twenty times faster than ours and for just half the cost.
“This is unacceptable. We must do better.
“So let me offer my thoughts about where to begin. I believe we cannot manage problems that we do not measure. For this reason, last year I introduced S. 1492, the Broadband Data Improvement Act, which is designed to enhance our understanding of broadband deployment and adoption in every state.
“This is not about regulation or deregulation. This is about getting the facts, because from good information flows good policy. So I hope, in the remaining days of this Congress, that the members of this Committee can work together to advance this bill in the Senate.  Together we can look back and say we understood that broadband matters and that we did something about it.”