Capito introduces bipartisan bill to assess U.S. economic impact of deployed broadband

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) on May 2 cosponsored the bipartisan Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act of 2019, legislation that could help expand broadband deployment.

“This legislation is an important step toward bridging the digital divide because it will provide the data necessary to help us as policymakers make decisions regarding broadband investment and accessibility,” Sen. Capito said last week.

Sen. Capito introduced S. 1289 with U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) to require the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to conduct an assessment and analysis of the effects of broadband deployment on the United States economy, according to the congressional record. The senators both are co-chairs of the Senate Broadband Caucus.

If enacted, S. 1289 would require the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Technology to jointly conduct the study, which also would look at how broadband deployment has impacted the nation’s digital economy, said Sen. Capito.

“Improving connectivity in West Virginia and other states can create so much opportunity — especially when it comes to creating jobs and fueling economic growth,” Sen. Capito said, adding that the proposed bill also would provide “another valuable tool to better connect our communities.”

The bill also would require the Commerce Department’s report to include information and data on the adoption of digital-enabling infrastructure, e-commerce and platform-enabled peer-to-peer commerce, and the production and consumption of digital media, according to Sen. Capito.

Additionally, S. 1289 would permit the Commerce Department secretary to consult with business stakeholders, including internet service providers and telecommunications infrastructure providers; state, local, and tribal government agencies; and consumer and community organizations.

Four other Senate members joined Sen. Capito as an original cosponsor of the bill, which is endorsed by NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association, the Wireless Infrastructure Association, Connected Nation, among others.