Congress Passes Manchin's Proposals To Address Incorrect Broadband Coverage Maps
Washington, D.C. – Today the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Act (Broadband DATA Act). This bill will help to fix the country’s faulty broadband coverage maps and contains several key provisions that came directly from Senator Manchin’s efforts as well as his bill, the Map Improvement Act of 2019. Senator Manchin also questioned Federal Communications Commission Chairman (FCC) Ajit Pai today on incorrect broadband coverage maps during an Appropriations Subcommittee hearing.
“I am thrilled that both the House and Senate passed the Broadband DATA Act and urge President Trump to quickly sign it into law. As the only Member of Congress to formally challenge a federal broadband coverage map through the FCC’s Mobility Fund Phase II challenge process, I know first-hand that broadband coverage has been sorely misrepresented by the FCC through their inconsistent mapping practices. West Virginians can tell you where there is and isn’t coverage throughout the state and this legislation establishes standards for collecting data to ensure that everyone’s coverage is accurately represented and allow the public be a part of this process. This bipartisan bill is an important step towards ensuring every household in West Virginia and across the country has the access they need,” said Senator Manchin.
The following provisions of the Broadband DATA Act came directly from Senator Manchin’s work:
Verified Data Collection
- Requires the FCC to establish a process through which they can collect verified data for use in coverage maps from state and local government entities like the Broadband Enhancement Council in West Virginia.
- Requires the FCC to establish a user-friendly challenge process through which consumers, State, Local, and Tribal governmental entities, and other entities may submit coverage data to the FCC to challenge the accuracy of the FCC’s coverage maps and any information submitted by a provider regarding the availability of broadband internet service.
- Ensures that the FCC must consider the following when establishing their user-friendly challenge process:
- lessons learned from the Mobility Fund II Challenge Process;
- the need for user-friendly challenge submission formats that will promote participation; and
- providing challenge data in both GIS and non-GIS formats
- Ensures the FCC will provide technical assistance to State, local, and Tribal Governmental Entities and consumers throughout the challenge process (including detailed tutorials, webinars, and designated staff)
- Requires the FCC to develop a crowdsourcing process through which consumers may submit specific information about the deployment and availability of broadband internet service that can be used to verify and supplement broadband coverage maps.
- Requires the FCC to coordinate with the U.S Postal Service and other Federal agencies that operate delivery fleets to facilitate the collection and submission of data to help improve broadband coverage maps, an idea Senator Manchin introduced with the Map Improvement Act and has been pushing the FCC to do since 2015.
Senator Manchin has sent 330 letters from 50 counties to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to highlight speed test results he received from West Virginians who do not have access to reliable broadband service. Until the FCC establishes a user-friendly public feedback mechanism to allow West Virginians to help validate the FCC’s coverage data, Senator Manchin will continue to send speed test results to Chairman Pai. If you are experiencing internet speeds below the FCC’s definition of broadband, which is 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload, Senator Manchin wants to hear from you. If you would like Senator Manchin to send your speed test results to the Federal Communications Commission please visit our webpage, manchin.senate.gov/speedtest, from a computer or mobile device to submit your speed test results. If you are unable to access the webpage due to lack of service, please email a screenshot of your speed test (if possible) along with the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-224-3954.
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