(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) applauded the addition of New Hampshire to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s National Broadband Availability Map (NBAM) program.
The NBAM is a geographic information system that collects data from federal, state and commercially available sources to create a comprehensive map of existing broadband coverage. As a result of its addition, New Hampshire will now participate alongside 17 other states to broaden and update the national broadband availability map. This data will allow policymakers to make more informed decisions on broadband expansion plans. As the lead Democrat on the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations subcommittee, which provides funding for the NBAM, Shaheen has secured funding for this program since its inception in Fiscal Year 2018.
“The COVID-19 crisis has further exposed existing gaps in our broadband infrastructure throughout the state. This has been particularly difficult in our rural communities, where remote learning and telehealth appointments have been especially challenging,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’m very pleased New Hampshire has been added to the NBAM program, which will enhance efforts to map broadband availability in the state and help policymakers craft and implement better broadband expansion plans. All Americans should have access to broadband, regardless of their zip code or income, and I will continue to work in the Senate to achieve this goal.”
“We need accurate, on-the-ground data to help inform decisions about how to allocate funding and resources to build out broadband infrastructure in the areas that need it most,” Senator Hassan said. “Adding New Hampshire to this national broadband data platform is an important step in expanding broadband to underserved communities across the state. I will continue working with the rest of the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation to ensure that all Granite Staters have access to high-speed, reliable internet.”
“With many Granite Staters working and going to school remotely during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, access to reliable internet is more important than ever before,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “NTIA’s addition of New Hampshire to its National Broadband Availability Map (NBAM) program is an important step forward toward ensuring all Granite Staters have the internet connection they need to do their work, learn online, and receive care through telemedicine appointments. I will continue working to secure resources so every New Hampshire community can thrive.”
“Ensuring every Granite Stater has access to reliable, high-speed internet is a necessity if we are to compete and thrive in the 21st century economy,” said Congressman Pappas. “As Congress considers an infrastructure package, it is important to ensure federal funds are available to support upgrades that will connect homes, businesses, and communities to broadband. Joining NBAM will help New Hampshire build out infrastructure and improve access that will deliver tele-health, expand educational opportunities, and support our small businesses throughout the state.”
Senator Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has long championed federal support for investments in broadband and infrastructure and has consistently included federal support in yearly government funding legislation. In fiscal year (FY) 2020 legislation signed into law last year, Shaheen successfully secured funding for a new program through the Northern Border Regional Commission to support projects that increase access to high-speed broadband and enhance the region’s capacity for business retention and expansion. In March, President Trump signed legislation cosponsored by Shaheen and Hassan into law to improve the accuracy of the Federal Communications Commission’s broadband maps, which help determine where billions of dollars in federal funding is distributed for broadband expansion.
Additionally, Senator Hassan has been leading efforts, along with Senator Shaheen, to fix the FCC’s flawed broadband coverage maps, and successfully called on the FCC to extend the deadline for communities to challenge the accuracy of broadband coverage maps. Senator Hassan also joined in sending a bipartisan letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai advocating for an additional public feedback mechanism that would utilize crowdsourced data to empower consumers and states to help inform broadband coverage maps and report any lack of broadband access to the FCC.