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McMorris Rodgers, O'Halleran Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Broadband Mapping in Rural Communities

Published by on June 6, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 6, 2019) – Today, Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) introduced the Broadband Data Improvement Act of 2019 alongside Reps. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Ann Kuster (D-NH), David McKinley (R-WV), and Rob Wittman (R-VA), bipartisan legislation to improve the broadband mapping process nationwide to accurately reflect coverage levels in rural areas.

“Access to broadband is basic infrastructure in our 21st Century economy, but for too many people, including many in rural Eastern Washington, it’s still not a reality,” said McMorris Rodgers. “One of the main challenges we face is having accurate data about what areas have access and where we need to improve. This legislation will revamp the broadband mapping process so that federal agencies and private industry are able to target improvements to the areas that need it most and finally bridge the digital divide in rural communities.”

“In the most rural parts of our country, millions of Americans lack access to reliable broadband. This puts communities at a significant disadvantage and prevents them from unlocking the potential of online learning, telehealth, and connectivity in our 21st century economy. It is important that we close the digital divide to ensure these communities can thrive, but to do that we need to update the National Broadband Map” O’Halleran said. “I am proud to join my colleagues to introduce bipartisan legislation to ensure we are collecting accurate coverage data and allocating funds to the underserved areas that need the resources.”

“Common sense strategies to improve our broadband maps will help us connect America to the digital age and more efficiently use government resources. The Broadband Data Improvement Act of 2019 would move away from the current census block approach to one that utilizes shapefiles plus crowdsourcing, therefore better identifying the served and unserved areas so the FCC can quickly make mapping improvements. We applaud Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Tom O’Halleran for introducing this bipartisan legislation and look forward to working with the committee, the FCC and all stakeholders on improving our national broadband map.” – NCTA, the Internet and Television Association

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