Capito’s bipartisan bill to provide data on broadband adoption, deployment passes Senate

The U.S. Senate on June 5 passed by unanimous consent a bipartisan bill offered by U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) to conduct an assessment and analysis of the effects of broadband deployment and adoption on America’s economy.

Sen. Capito on May 2 introduced the Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act of 2019, S. 1289, with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), which would require the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Technology to conduct the study.

“As co-chairs of the bipartisan Senate Broadband Caucus, Senator Klobuchar and I have worked to prioritize broadband legislation that will improve connectivity in our rural communities, and I’m proud our Senate colleagues have helped move this bill forward,” Sen. Capito said on June 6.

If enacted, S. 1289 would fill the gap that currently exists for a federal government data analysis that produces up-to-date, reliable statistics on the economic impact of broadband on the U.S. economy, according to Sen. Capito’s office.

“This legislation will provide meaningful economic insights as lawmakers work to close the digital divide in West Virginia and across the country,” the senator said.

The bill would require the secretary to consider broadband deployment and adoption of digital-enabling infrastructure, e-commerce and platform-enabled peer-to-peer commerce, as well as the production and use of digital media, her staff said, and could consult with representatives across the business sector, state, local and tribal government agencies, and consumer and community organizations.