March 02, 2018

Manchin Rural Broadband Bill Passes Senate

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate passed the Rural Wireless Access Act, legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), requiring the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure their broadband coverage maps reflect the real-world experiences of consumers in rural America. It would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to collect broadband coverage data that is valid, consistent, and robust.

“Passing the Rural Wireless Access Act is an important step towards closing the broadband gap in West Virginia,” Senator 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. I encourage my House colleagues to pass this legislation quickly so we can move forward and deliver on the promise of universal service for our West Virginia communities.”

This standardized data is necessary to ensure that policies to expand broadband deployment accurately target the unserved and underserved communities and account for the mobile coverage experience of those living in the most remote parts of the country. Senator Manchin introduced the bipartisan bill with Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), John Barrasso (R-WY), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Gary Peters (D-MI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Dean Heller (R-NV) in July 2017.

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
  • Increase the efficiency of wireless coverage data collection