U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) Thursday released the following statement on the passage of the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act.
“I’m concerned that the current FCC maps dramatically overstate broadband access in Iowa in a way that has a negative impact on our funding eligibility,” Grassley said. “Better data will ensure that funding is available throughout rural America. This bill should help the FCC accomplish these goals.”
The Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to issue new rules to require the collection and dissemination of granular broadband availability data and to establish a process to verify the accuracy of such data.
Grassley has a long history of working to close the digital divide in Iowa. He is a strong advocate for rural broadband deployment and providing the tools necessary to make sure that rural America is not left behind.
“All Americans ought to be able to share in the opportunity that advanced telecommunications and mobile technology can bring to one’s home, classroom, hospital, business, or tractor,” Grassley stated. Most recently, Grassley and Sen. Joni Ernst sent a letter on July 8, 2019 to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai regarding the FCC’s role in ensuring the accuracy of broadband maps.
In August 2019, the FCC voted to create a new Digital Opportunity Data Collection regime based on geospatial broadband coverage maps provided by fixed Internet service providers. The Universal Service Administration Company was charged with the new data collection and will create a portal for collecting the carrier data and allow for crowdsourced challenges to the maps. The FCC is continuing to collect data based on census blocks, but will require fixed broadband suppliers to also provide coverage maps based on shapefiles for more granular data.