Klobuchar hosted “Broadband Mapping: Discussing Challenges and Solutions” panel today

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and her fellow Senate Broadband Caucus co-chairs hosted a panel about broadband mapping titled, “Broadband Mapping: Discussing Challenges and Solutions.” At the event, Klobuchar highlighted her bill with Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and John Hoeven (R-ND) to improve the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) broadband coverage maps and help close the digital divide. The bipartisan Improving Broadband Mapping Act would give policymakers more accurate data—including consumer reported data, and state and local data—on broadband coverage nationwide. The Senate Broadband Caucus is also led by Capito and Senators Angus King (I-ME) and John Boozman (R-AR).

“When I visit Minnesota’s 87 counties, I see the challenges rural communities face without access to broadband,” Klobuchar said. “In order to deploy broadband nationwide, we need reliable data on where service exists and where it does not—but the FCC’s broadband maps overstate coverage in many rural areas, including some in my state and in states across the country. This means that some communities that really need help to deploy broadband are ineligible to receive federal funds. That’s why I introduced the Improving Broadband Mapping Act with Senators Capito, Manchin, and Hoeven to help improve the FCC’s maps and provide better data on broadband coverage nationwide.”

“As we work to close the digital divide and bring high-speed internet to communities across the country, it’s critical that we have a clear and accurate understanding of where broadband is available. Improving the accuracy of the FCC’s broadband maps is a top priority for me, and it’s a top priority for Minnesota,” she continued.

Panelists at today’s event included:

  • Kris Monteith- Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
  • Doug Kinkoph- Associate Administrator, Office of Telecommunications and Applications, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)
  • James Assey- Executive Vice President, NCTA- the Internet and Television Association
  • Patrick Halley- Senior Vice President, Advocacy and Regulatory Affairs, US Telecom- the Broadband Association

As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Broadband Caucus, Klobuchar has long championed closing the digital divide and expanding broadband internet connection to all corners of the U.S. Earlier this month, Klobuchar and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation introduced the Broadband Interagency Coordination Act. The legislation would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to enter into a memorandum of understanding to coordinate the distribution of federal funds for broadband deployment and ensure funds are targeted to unserved and underserved areas. Also this month, Klobuchar and Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus, reintroduced the Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act to require the Bureau of Economic Analysis in consultation with the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Technology to conduct a study of the effects of the digital economy and the adoption of broadband deployment on the U.S. economy. Klobuchar and Wicker also led the Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act, which was signed into law as part of the 2018 Farm Bill. The bipartisan legislation will identify gaps in coverage and encourage broadband deployment on farms and ranchland.

Video of Klobuchar’s remarks at today’s panel can be found HERE.