Latta’s bipartisan broadband maps bill receives House approval; moves to Senate

U.S. Rep. Bob Latta’s (R-OH) bipartisan bill to improve broadband maps in America on Monday received voice vote approval from the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The passage of this bill means more Americans, whether they live in urban, suburban, or rural communities, will be able to participate in our 21st century economy, because we will be able to better pinpoint where internet access is lacking so that funding can be appropriately dispersed to areas that need it most,” Rep. Latta said. “I encourage my colleagues in the Senate to swiftly consider this bill so people across the country can engage in the digital age.”

Rep. Latta is the lead original cosponsor of the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act, H.R. 4229, with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA) to require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to change the way broadband data is collected, verified and reported.

If enacted, H.R. 4229 would require that the FCC collect and disseminate broadband maps from wired, fixed-wireless, satellite, and mobile broadband providers by establishing the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric, a dataset of geocoded information for all broadband service locations, atop which broadband maps are overlaid as the vehicle for reporting broadband service availability data, according to the congressional record summary.

Additionally, the bill would require that the FCC devise specific requirements for service availability data collected from broadband providers, and create a challenge process to enable the submission of independent data challenging the accuracy of FCC broadband maps, the summary says.

“Our country’s technological capabilities are revolutionizing the way Americans communicate and work with each other, but due to inaccuracies in our maps that identify where people can and cannot access the internet, some people are being left behind,” said Rep. Latta, who serves as House Energy and Commerce Republican Leader of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee.

The Senate on Dec. 17 received the measure and placed it on the Senate Legislative Calendar.