Senate Approves Broadband Data Bill

OK I’m a little late on the uptake for this one but the Broadband Data Improvement Act (S. 1492) passed in the Senate last week (September 26, 2008) in traduced by Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) and others (including AAmy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). The goal is “to improve the quality of Federal and State data regarding the availability and quality of broadband services and to promote the deployment of affordable broadband services to all parts of the Nation.”

The Broadband Data Improvement Act (according to the Senate press release) 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.

The Senate bill sounds a lot like the the “Broadband Census of America Act” (H.R. 3919), sponsored by Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), which passed in the House last November.

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About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

3 thoughts on “Senate Approves Broadband Data Bill

  1. Pingback: Broadband Data Improvement Act approved by House « Blandin on Broadband

  2. Unfortunately, S. 1492 differs from the House Bill, “Broadband Census of America Act,” H.R. 3919, in some crucial respects. See our story, “House Defers to Senate Broadband Data Bill; Final Bill Deletes Funding and National Map,” at

    WASHINGTON, October 7 – Congress last week passed legislation, the “Broadband Data Improvement Act,” that seeks better information about high-speed internet connections through enhanced data collection by five separate government agencies.

    But as passed by the Senate and the House, S. 1492 deleted all authorization of funds – an amount that had totaled $40 million for each of fiscal years 2008 through 2012 in the Senate Commerce Committee version of the legislation.


  3. Drew,

    I think the second paragraph, which you have included above is most telling and unfortunately an area where both branches agree. As your article points out, the bills have been well received but it seems that the changes have lessened the impact. In the end I think we’ll end up agreeing that broadband is important – but lack of funding speaks louder than bills themselves.

    Again your article points out that some legislators are disappointed with the lessened bill – more in terms of how detailed the mapping will be than funding. It seems as if maybe they could go with the detailed surveys of US broadband and forget about mapping internationally – leave that to someone such as the OECD.

    Thanks! Ann

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