Sen. Capito: FCC Sec. 706 Report Shows Improvement, But...

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.) said the FCC's recent Sec. 706 report on the deployment of advanced telecommunications shows improvement, but it is clear the FCC needs better data. 

The report, released last week, concluded that the digital divide is continuing to close and advanced telecommunications continues to be deployed to all Americans on a reasonable and timely basis.  

The commission vote to issue the report was 3-2, with the Democrats dissenting.  

Capito, co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus, was not a dissenter, but she said the FCC needs to improve its data maps, something the FCC is trying to do. 

She said that overall the report shows progress in better connecting communities, but she cited the flawed data, saying more granular data is "essential," particularly in the age of COVID-19. She said she appreciated the FCC's recognition that it needs that more granular data.  

"The report is a positive news that the digital divide continues to close and that we continue to make progress," she said, adding: "[W]ith nearly 30% of rural communities still lacking access to 25/3 Mbps service, I remain deeply committed to expanding broadband connectivity across our state, especially as telecommunication capability is vital during these trying times." 

Capito co-sponsored the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act, which was signed into law in March. 

The bill requires the FCC to issue new rules "to require the collection and dissemination of granular broadband availability data and to establish a process to verify the accuracy of such data, and more."  

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.