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.