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Bill Would Gauge Broadband’s Economic Impacts

The co-chairs of the Senate Broadband Caucus, Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), have introduced a bill to measure the economic impact of broadband.

The Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act would require the Secretary of Commerce--through the Bureau of Economic Analysis--to study the effect of broadband deployment on the economy.

They say the U.S. does not currently have reliable statistics on that impact.

The bill was introduced on the eve of the unveiling of the President's budget, which will cut various programs to make room for Defense and border security spending, including on The Wall.

"“Broadband is a great equalizing force for creating jobs, leveling the playing field, and increasing opportunity,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “Our bipartisan legislation will help provide us with the reliable, publicly available economic data we need to make informed decisions about expanding broadband, connecting our communities, and keeping us competitive in an increasingly digital world.” 

To come up with the economic analysis, the Commerce Secretary will have to consider "job creation, business headcount, online commerce, income, education and distance learning, telehealth, telework, agriculture, population growth, population density, broadband speed, and geography."

Other sponsors include Sens. Angus King (I-Me.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), John Boozman (R-Ariz.) (also co-chairs of the Senate Broadband Caucus), and caucus members Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Ark.).