U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) this week introduced the Rural Wireless Access Act of 2017. The legislation would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to collect broadband coverage data that is valid, consistent and robust. This standardized data is necessary to ensure that policies to expand broadband deployment accurately target the unserved and underserved communities and account for the mobile coverage experience of those living in the most remote parts of the country.
“While Congress has mandated that consumers in rural America must have access to comparable services, there is still much work to be done to make this a reality in West Virginia,” Manchin said. “This legislation is an important step towards ensuring our ongoing efforts to close the broadband gap are guided by a realistic understanding of the mobile broadband coverage currently available to rural consumers. We must target the areas that remain in need of this critical support and deliver on the promise of universal service.”
Other original cosponsors include Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Gary Peters (D-MI). This bill would direct the FCC to establish a methodology to:
- Ensure that wireless coverage data is collected in a consistent and robust way
- Improve the validity and reliability of wireless coverage data
- Increase the efficiency of wireless coverage data collection.