WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan cosponsored bipartisan legislation to expand access to broadband in rural and underserved communities in New Hampshire by improving the accuracy of broadband maps.
The bipartisan Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act would push the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to improve its broadband coverage maps by requiring the FCC to receive more detailed coverage data from service providers, a move that would improve the agency’s data collection and reporting. The FCC’s coverage maps determine areas that are eligible for federal funds targeted to underserved communities that do not have access to reliable mobile broadband service. Additionally, the bill would request that the FCC biannually update their broadband data maps, as well as develop a process for stakeholders to challenge the maps’ accuracy.
“It is crucial that on-the-ground broadband coverage in New Hampshire is accurately reflected in the FCC’s broadband coverage maps, otherwise underserved communities won’t be eligible to receive federal funds that would bring high-speed internet to their homes and businesses,” Senator Hassan said. “This bipartisan bill builds on my efforts to ensure that the FCC’s broadband maps are reflective of the reality of inadequate coverage that far too many Granite Staters have to live with every day.”
Senator Hassan has been leading efforts in the Senate to fix the FCC’s flawed broadband coverage maps that determine which areas are eligible for billions of dollars in federal funding to expand broadband in rural areas. Last year, Senator Hassan successfully called on the FCC to extend the deadline for communities to challenge the accuracy of broadband coverage maps. In February, Senator Hassan joined in sending a bipartisan letter to FCC Chairman 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. Last month, Senator Hassan joined in reintroducing the bipartisan AIRWAVES Act, which would make meaningful investments in rural broadband infrastructure. Senator Hassan also recently joined in introducing the bipartisan Rural Reasonable and Comparable Wireless Access Act, which directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish a national standard for determining whether mobile and broadband services in rural areas are ‘reasonably comparable’ to service provided in urban areas.