HR 3919 The Broadband Census of America Act of 2007

Summary: 

The legislation seeks to address the lack of accurate information about the nature and extent of broadband service across America in order to pave the way for the development and implementation of a comprehensive national broadband strategy.

The following reflects major provisions of the bill as approved by the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet on October 10, 2007.

I. Census of Broadband Infrastructure and Services

The bill instructs the FCC to conduct an annual assessment on the deployment of broadband.

  • instead of defining broadband as a certain transmission speed, the bill asks the FCC to organize its assessment and report around bandwidth service tiers and types of technology;
  • the tiers are to correspond to the ability to support different applications and services;
  • information for the report is to be collected from all public and commercial broadband service providers under FCC jurisdiction;
  • information would be collected at the 5 digit postal code level and include: 1) deployment of technology, 2) numbers of residential and large and small business subscribers, and 3) advertised data transmission speeds.
  • the FCC is to periodiclly review both the types technologies and the bandwidth service tiers to take into account technological and marketplace changes.
  • the assessment and report is also to include an international comparison of 75 communities in 25 countries

II. Broadband Map

The bill directs the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to develop, within 2 years, and maintain an interactive, searchable broadband inventory map of the US and to display the map through its website.

  • the map would depict -- to the 9 digit zip code or census tract level -- all public and commercial broadband service providers, the types of technology used and bandwidth tiers available in each area.
  • the NTIA would then overlay demographic data with the broadband data
  • broadband data would come from the FCC, but eligible state entities could contribute data for state maps
  • these entities could request funding help from the NTIA, but would have to find at least 20% of total costs from non-Federal funding sources
  • funding available would be $12 million per fiscal year in fiscal years 2008, 2009 and 2010

III. Broadband Grants

The bill creates a grant program -- $50 million in FY 2008, $100 million in FY 2009 and $150 million in FY 2010 -- at the NTIA to facilitate local technology planning by broad cross-sections of communities. Funds would be used to:

  • assess the current use of broadband service capability across relevant community sectors;
  • set goals for improving or maximizing such use within each sector;
  • develop a plan for achieving the eligible planning entity’s goals, with specific recommendations for identifying and spurring demand for such capability;
  • collaborate with providers of broadband service capability and other high technology companies to encourage the deployment and use of broadband service capability in unserved and under served areas
  • identify local demand for broadband service capability and aggregate such demand;
  • establish programs, but not acquire equipment or facilities, to improve computer ownership and Internet access for unserved and underserved populations; and
  • facilitate the exchange of information regarding the use and demand for broadband service capability between the public and private sectors.

IV. Broadband Consumer Survey

The bill directs the FCC to conduct and make publicly available periodic surveys of both residential and business broadband consumers to determine:

  • The type of technology used to provide the broadband service capability to which the consumer subscribes.
  • The amount the consumer pays per month for such capability.
  • The actual data transmission speeds of such capability.
  • The types of applications and services the consumer most frequently uses in conjunction with such capability.

See latest draft of bill.


Read text of discussion draft and a quick summary.
  • * September 30, 2008 Both the House and the Senate have passed the Broadband Data Improvement Act.

    * July 2008: [Commentary] Nation's Largest ISPs Crafting Fake National Broadband Policy

    * July 2008: Communications Workers of America, AT&T, Charter Communications, Comcast, Connected Nation, Cox Communications, Embarq, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies, Qwest, Time Warner Cable, the U.S. Telecom Association and Verizon signed a joint letter to Sens. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Reps. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas), copied to other key congressional and committee leaders, outlining their reasons for wanting S. 1492, the Broadband Data Improvement Act and H.R. 3919, the Broadband Census of America Act to move through the system quickly. See Union, Industry Push For Congressional Broadband Action

    * The House approved the bill on Nov 13, 2007

    * The House Commerce Committee approved the bill on Tuesday October 30.

    * The House Commerce Committee is scheduled to markup HR 3919 on Thursday, October 25, 2007

    * Oct 10, 2007 The House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet unanimously passed the bill. Broadcasting & Cable reports that there will be some more negotiation before a vote in the full Commerce Committee. See latest draft of bill.

    * May 17, 2007 The House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet held a hearing to discuss draft legislation. (See recap of hearing)

Resources: 

Broadband Internet Access and the Digital Divide: Federal Assistance Programs Lennard G. Kruger & Angele A. Gilroy, Congressional Research Service, April 2007.

Supporters: 

Rep Ed Markey (D-MA)

House Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-MI)

Co-sponsors:
Rep Dingell, John D. [MI-15] - 10/22/2007 Rep Wilson, Heather [NM-1] - 10/22/2007
Rep Eshoo, Anna G. [CA-14] - 10/22/2007 Rep Doyle, Michael F. [PA-14] - 10/22/2007
Rep Gordon, Bart [TN-6] - 10/22/2007 Rep Capps, Lois [CA-23] - 10/22/2007
Rep Space, Zachary T. [OH-18] - 10/22/2007 Rep Hill, Baron P. [IN-9] - 10/22/2007
Rep Solis, Hilda L. [CA-32] - 10/22/2007 Rep Gonzalez, Charles A. [TX-20] - 10/22/2007
Rep Green, Gene [TX-29] - 10/22/2007 Rep Allen, Thomas H. [ME-1] - 10/22/2007
Rep Barton, Joe [TX-6] - 11/1/2007 Rep Upton, Fred [MI-6] - 11/1/2007
Rep Stupak, Bart [MI-1] - 11/1/2007

Communications Workers of America

National Cable & Telecommunications Association: "Cable’s broadband service is currently available to 94 percent of all U.S. households; however, improved data about the availability and speed of all broadband offerings will help accomplish the important goal of further promoting ubiquitous broadband availability for all Americans."

Communications Workers of America, AT&T, Charter Communications, Comcast, Connected Nation, Cox Communications, Embarq, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies, Qwest, Time Warner Cable, the U.S. Telecom Association and Verizon

Detractors: 

* Scott Cleland, Precursor LLC

Legislation Date: 
May 17, 2007