Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-N.Y.) has introduced one bill that would require both better broadband speed measurement and tie funding to higher speeds, and re-introduced another to fund challenges to FCC broadband deployment data.
The Broadband Speed Act would require ISPs to report accurate speed data to the FCC on an annual basis. The bill defines accurate speeds as "the actual speeds they are capable of providing, as opposed to what they can potentially provide within 7-10 business days," as the current speed standard allows.
He said the law will help demonstrate to the FCC where broadband service is matching advertised speeds. And just for good measure, the law would also require that any new FCC broadband funding for deployment require speeds of at least 100 Mbps "to ensure they are built to last."
The Biden Administration has made "future-proofing" broadband buildouts one of its mantras as well.
The second bill, which is co-sponsored by Republican Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia, would improve broadband mapping, something Congress and the FCC have been trying to do for some time.
The Community Broadband Mapping Act would allow local governments, utility cooperatives, community groups, small ISPs and others to use USDA Rural Utility Service (RUS) grant money to collect broadband coverage data that it could use to challenge any incorrect designations by the FCC.
“Flawed service maps compiled by the FCC paint an inaccurate picture of upstate broadband access,” said Rep. Delgado, something the FCC has conceded. Delgado called the bill, and its help with challenges to FCC data, a first step to secure affordable broadband.
"Reliable access to the internet remains a necessity for all Americans no matter where they live," said Rep. McKinley. "Without maps that provide an accurate assessment of internet connectivity, we can’t target resources correctly to parts of the country that need help. This bill will help address this continuing problem."
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.
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