Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) said that a lot of ISPs, "for whatever reason," claim they have service where they don't, something he said everyone knows "has been going on for years."
Doyle, chairman of the House Communications Subcommittee, was being interviewed for C-SPAN's Communicators series about why the FCC's broadband maps, which rely on carrier data, have not yet gotten fixed.
He said that since Democrats and Republicans agree the maps aren't good, the FCC would just be throwing $20 million out the window by starting to give out most of the Rural Development Opportunities Fund (RDOF) subsidy money.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai argues that delaying those subsidies would mean taking longer to close the digital divide, and that the initial $16 billion is going to areas identified as unserved, while the issues with the maps are about failing to get money to unserved areas because they are identified as served.
But Doyle said it was mind-boggling that "given the technology and abilities we have today," he didn't know why the FCC did not have accurate maps" to direct the "precious dollars that aren't growing on trees."
On closing the homework gap, Doyle pledged that any COVID-19 aid package that moves out of the House would include money for schools and libraries. He said there is bipartisan support for boosting distance learning but that the issue comes down to dollars and how to pay for it, which is usually where the bipartisanship breaks down.
Democrats want to put $9 billion toward closing the homework gap.
Doyle's Communicators interview airs on C-SPAN Saturday (July 11) at 6:30 p.m. ET, and on C-SPAN2 Monday (July 13) at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET.
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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