This week, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) Rural Wireless Access Act of 2017 passed unanimously through the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) answered Manchin’s call to advance the Mobility Fund II, which will provide $4.53 billion to expand rural broadband access.
“These votes are significant steps towards closing the broadband coverage gaps that exist in West Virginia,” Manchin said. “Accurate and reliable coverage maps are necessary to close the digital divide in rural America and expand broadband deployment to across the Mountain State. These efforts represent critical progress towards delivering reliable broadband access to even our most rural and remote communities. I commend Chairman Pai and the entire FCC for working with me to ensure this funding increases broadband coverage in West Virginia.”
The Rural Wireless Act would expand broadband deployment in West Virginia by requiring the FCC to improve the way it collects broadband data. For too long, broadband coverage data has overstated coverage levels available to consumers and has not reflected the real-world broadband experience in rural America. The legislation now heads to the U.S. Senate floor.
The Mobility Fund II will provide $4.53 billion over ten years to expand broadband service in rural and unserved areas. Earlier this year, Senator Manchin led a bipartisan letter with Senator Roger Wicker (R-KS) urging the FCC to advance the Mobility Fund II. Manchin and Wicker were joined by 28 Senators in that effort.