Senate Communications Subcommittee Explores IoT In Rural America

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The Senate Communications Subcommittee looked at the impact of the internet of things on rural America in a hearing Nov 7, with both sides of the aisle agreeing that the Federal Communications Commission needed better data on where broadband is and isn't deployed, given that connectivity is key to IoT deployment. Subcommittee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) said it was vital that the FCC's Universal Service Fund provides "adequate and predictable support" for broadband connectivity and collects reliable data before making new funding decisions, including on the Connect America Fund II subsidies. Ranking Member Brian Schatz (D-HI) pointed to the rural broadband gap as a main sticking point, saying that one in four rural residents still don't have access to 25 Mbps upstream/ 3 Mbps downstream broadband (the FCC's definition of high speed)--one hearing witness put that number at more like one in three "reliable, high-speed access." Sen Schatz, a member of the internet of things working group, agreed that accurate data on broadband availability was crucial, pointed to issues with FCC data collection and said that had to change and that the commission needed to establish a consistent methodology for data collection.


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