Broadband Economic Impact Bill Introduced

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who co-chair the Senate Broadband Caucus, have introduced the self-evidently named Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act, just the latest effort in a political season where broadband access is an election issue--Klobuchar is running for President.

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 consequences of deployment and the lack of it by collecting such data on the digital economy.

Related: Senate Democrats Introduce Digital Equity Act

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."

The bill suggests doing so in consultation with ISPs, infrastructure providers, governments and civil society.

According to Klobuchar, the bill is backed by Connected Nation, NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association, WIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association, ITTA – The Voice of America’s Broadband Providers and CCIA.

“In the 21st century economy, broadband is a critical force for creating jobs, leveling the playing field, and increasing opportunity,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “This bipartisan legislation will ensure that we have more reliable, publicly available economic data in order to make informed decisions about expanding broadband, connecting our communities, and keeping us competitive in an increasingly digital world.”

Original co-sponsors include Sens. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.).

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.