The Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act and the Broadband Interagency Coordination Act are both headed to the Senate floor
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus, announced that two of her bills to promote broadband deployment have passed the Senate Commerce Committee and are headed to the Senate floor for a vote. The Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act, introduced with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus, would require the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Director of the Bureau of Economic Analysis, to conduct a study of the effects of broadband deployment and adoption on the U.S. economy. The Broadband Interagency Coordination Act, introduced with Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to coordinate and share information on their broadband deployment efforts so federal funds are used effectively to target unserved and underserved areas.
“Every family in America needs access to broadband internet connection, no matter their zip code,” Klobuchar said. “These bipartisan bills will ensure that the federal government is coordinating broadband deployment efforts to target unserved and underserved areas and working to gather reliable data on the economic impact of broadband and the digital economy.”
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. In March, Klobuchar, Capito, and Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and John Hoeven (R-ND) introduced bipartisan legislation to improve the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) broadband coverage maps. The Improving Broadband Mapping Act directs the FCC to initiate a rulemaking to consider using consumer-reported data and state and local data from government entities to improve broadband mapping accuracy while also considering ways that both fixed and mobile coverage data can be challenged. The bill will help close the digital divide by giving policymakers more accurate data on broadband coverage nationwide. 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.