March 02, 2018

U.S. Senate passes Rural Wireless Access Act | Beckley Register Herald

The U.S. Senate has passed the Rural Wireless Access Act, requiring the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure its broadband coverage maps reflect the real-world experiences of consumers in rural America.

The legislation, introduced by Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., requires the FCC to collect valid, consistent and robust broadband coverage data.

“Passing the Rural Wireless Access Act is an important step towards closing the broadband gap in West Virginia,” Manchin said. “This bill ensures our ongoing efforts to close the broadband gap are guided by a realistic understanding of the mobile broadband coverage currently available to rural consumers."

Standardized data will help ensure that policies to expand broadband deployment accurately target unserved and underserved communities, and account for the mobile coverage experience of those living in the most remote parts of the country.

Specifically, the Rural Wireless Access Act would direct the FCC to establish a methodology to ensure that wireless coverage data is collected in a consistent and robust way; improve the validity and reliability of wireless coverage data; and increase the efficiency of wireless coverage data collection. 

Manchin said he encourages the U.S. House to pass this legislation quickly, "so we can move forward and deliver on the promise of universal service for our West Virginia communities." 

By:  Wendy Holdren