March 10, 2020
Contact: Jon Conradi
Bipartisan Mapping Legislation Will Help Better Direct Public and Private Investment in Rural Broadband Deployments
Washington, D.C. – Connect Americans Now (CAN) Executive Director Richard T. Cullen released the following statement following the passage of S.1822, the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act, by the U.S. Senate Tuesday. The bipartisan legislation unanimously passed the U.S. House last week and will now go to President Trump.
“CAN applauds lawmakers for their bipartisan commitment to accurately measuring the full scale of the digital divide,” Cullen said. “This important legislation will help better direct public and private investment in rural broadband deployments and more swiftly bring connectivity to Americans stuck on the wrong side of the digital divide.”
“CAN commends Senator Wicker, Representative Loebsack and the many other members of Congress who worked across party lines to advance these solutions to fix the nation’s broadband mapping data,” Culled added. “We encourage the president to swiftly sign the Broadband DATA Act into law so it can be swiftly implemented.”
The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) 2019 Broadband Deployment Report found 21.3 million Americans, including nearly 17 million in rural areas, do not have access to broadband internet.
A February study from BroadbandNow estimates the number of Americans who lack access to broadband internet is closer to 42 million, nearly double the current FCC figure.
And an analysis of usage data, conducted by Microsoft, found more than 157 million Americans do not use the internet at broadband speeds – providing additional evidence the scale of the digital divide is much greater than current mapping data demonstrates.