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Broadband mapping legislation headed to President’s desk

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The House of Representatives passed the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act (S. 1822). The bill, which was approved by the Senate last year, will now go to President Trump for his signature.

The DATA Act requires broadband providers to report more specific data to create a significantly more accurate and granular National Broadband Map. With more precise data, federal agencies can target funding to areas that need it most. Current broadband coverage maps are inadequate because they rely on census block data to determine which areas are covered. Census blocks are too large in rural and remote locations to accurately determine need. If even one household in a given census block is reported by a provider as being served, then the entire block is considered served. Census blocks larger than 2 square miles comprise more than 64% of the U.S. land area, so every rural area is impacted by this problem in some way.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said, “Reliable access to broadband is no longer a luxury but a necessity for farmers, ranchers and their rural communities. This legislation will create a more accurate National Broadband Map, which will help ensure resources are targeted to the areas that need it most. Farm Bureau thanks members of both chambers who diligently worked to pass this legislation and are committed to ensuring all Americans, including those in rural communities, have broadband in their homes, at their businesses, and on their farms.”

“This is an important step in helping the kids that grow up in rural America to be able to live in rural America,” Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota said. “When rural Americans have access to the infrastructure needed to support improving access to broadband then we keep rural America competitive in the 21st century and beyond. If we want to bridge the urban-rural divide, we have to close the digital divide and this legislation helps with granular data collection for more accurate mapping so that we can bring high-speed internet to every family, regardless of their zip code.”

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