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Senate Passes Broadband Economic Impact Bill

Goal is to prove how critical broadband is to economy

The Senate has passed the Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act, according to its co-sponsors, by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who co-chair the Senate Broadband Caucus.

It was reported favorably out of the Commerce Committee May 15. 

The bill is the latest effort in a political season where broadband access is an election issue–Klobuchar is running for President. 

The bill was only introduced four weeks ago, but getting better broadband data is a bipartisan issue on the HIll. 

Currently the FCC is collecting input on how to better gauge where broadband is or isn’t by collecting more accurate and reliable data. The bill’s goal is to gauge the effect of the digital economy and broadband deployment on the economy by collecting accurate data. 

It would require the Bureau of Economic Analysis, with input from the Department of Commerce, whose NTIA arm is also charged with getting a better handle on where broadband is or isn’t, to conduct the study of “broadband deployment and adoption of digital-enabling infrastructure, e-commerce and platform-enabled peer-to-peer commerce, and the production and consumption of digital media.” 

“Every family in America should have access to broadband internet connection, no matter their zip code” Klobuchar said. “The purpose of this legislation is to use accurate and reliable data to prove how critical broadband deployment is to our economy. I look forward to this bill being signed into law soon and getting one step closer to bridging the digital divide.” 

Original co-sponsors include Sens. Angus King (I-Me.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.), the the other co-chairs of the Senate Broadband Caucus, as well as Sens. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.).

See also: FCC’s Pai Recommends Approving T-Mobile-Sprint Merger