President Signs Broadband DATA Act Into Law

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The White House has announced that President Donald Trump has signed into law the “Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act” (Broadband DATA Act) (S.1822) which requires the FCC to issue rules relating to the collection of data with respect to the availability of broadband services.  The Broadband DATA Act, which has considerable bipartisan support, was first introduced into the Senate last summer by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and 67 other Senators.  It was approved in the Senate by unanimous consent in December 2019 and passed without objection by the House of Representatives on March 20, 2019.  The new law will change the way broadband data is collected, verified, and reported.  Specifically, the FCC must collect and disseminate granular broadband service availability data (broadband maps) from wired, fixed-wireless, satellite, and mobile broadband providers. To do this, the FCC is required to establish the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric (a dataset of geocoded information for all broadband service locations, atop which broadband maps are overlaid) as the vehicle for reporting broadband service availability data.  Additionally, the FCC must put forth specified requirements for service availability data collected from broadband providers, and it must create a challenge process to enable the submission of independent data challenging the accuracy of FCC broadband maps.  Finally, the Government Accountability Office must report on identified locations where fixed broadband can be installed to improve the quality and completeness of data sources for the fabric.

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