Sen Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
Sen Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus, said that the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) 2020 Broadband Deployment Report shows progress has been made in better connecting communities across the country. However, the report is based off of flawed data. "[T]his report is not perfect, and I appreciate the FCC’s recognition that more granular data is needed," she said. "The report is a positive news that the digital divide continues to close and that we continue to make progress.
One of my first efforts as a US senator was launching my Capito Connect initiative — a roadmap for bringing affordable, reliable, high-speed internet access to homes, businesses, and classrooms in WV. Each year, we’re making significant strides, and in 2019, we’ve made even more progress. While we’ve made great strides, there’s always more work to do. Federal, state and local entities must work in tandem to ensure we reach last-mile communities. On the state level, the WV Broadband Enhancement Council is an important partner in closing the digital divide in WV.
Sens Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) announced the introduction of their Broadband Parity Act, bipartisan legislation that would bring all federal broadband programs to the current definition of what the Federal Communications Commission defines as high-speed internet (currently 25/3 Mbps). Their bill would ensure that all communities and entities receiving federal broadband support have access to internet service that is actually at broadband speeds. Currently, there are over twenty federal broadband programs promoting access to fixed broadband service.
Sens Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Brian Schatz (D- HI), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Jon Tester (D-MT) urged the Federal Communications Commission to take specific, concrete steps to improve the accuracy of broadband coverage maps. Their letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai encourages the FCC to look at legislative proposals introduced recently in Congress that include reforms requiring wired, fixed wireless, and satellite broadband providers to submit data like “shapefiles” that is more granular and precise to the commission.
Sens Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) reintroduced the bipartisan Rural Reasonable and Comparable Wireless Access Act to help close the rural-urban digital divide and expand access to broadband in rural parts of West Virginia, New Hampshire, and across the country. The Act directs the Federal Communications Commission to establish a national standard for determining whether mobile and broadband services in rural areas are “reasonably comparable” to service provided in urban areas.
Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced the Broadband Data Improvement Act (BDIA), legislation to improve the accuracy of broadband coverage maps and better direct federal funds for broadband buildout. The bipartisan bill would require broadband providers to report data in a way that more accurately reflects locations they actually serve—a change from current reporting requirements.
Sens Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and John Hoeven (R-ND) introduced bipartisan legislation to improve the Federal Communications Commission’s broadband coverage maps. The Improving Broadband Mapping Accuracy Act directs the FCC to initiate a rulemaking to consider using consumer-reported data and state and local data from government entities to improve broadband mapping accuracy while also considering ways that both fixed and mobile coverage data can be challenged.
Sen Capito (R-WV), West Virginia state leaders welcome Facebook to WV for Major Technology Investment
Sen Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Gov Jim Justice (R-WV) joined representatives from Facebook for an annuncement regarding Facebook’s plans to build a fiber optic cable that will run through parts of West Virginia. The project is expected to begin in 2019 and will result in an approximate 275-mile route in West Virginia, providing the state with enhanced fiber optic connectivity.
Sens Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and John Boozman (R-AR) are joining together to launch the Senate Broadband Caucus.
As internet access plays an increasingly important role in all sectors of our economy, from education to agriculture, telemedicine to the innovation economy, the Senate Broadband Caucus will serve as a platform to engage in discussions across Committee jurisdictions and to inform Senators and their staff about emerging broadband issues. The caucus will focus on strengthening broadband infrastructure and deployment across the country. The caucus will address broadband challenges facing Americans, promote bipartisan discussions about possible solutions to increase connectivity and close the digital divide, especially in rural America, and engage with a broad range of industries and other stakeholders. The economic benefits of broadband infrastructure are clear. For every $5 billion invested in broadband infrastructure, 250,000 jobs are created and with every percentage point increase in new broadband distribution, employment expands by 300,000 jobs. Yet, according to the FCC’s 2016 Broadband Progress Report, one in ten Americans lacks access to the FCC’s definition of broadband. In rural America, 39 percent of Americans lack access. A recent study found that after each megabit per second increase in internet speeds, the unemployment rate dropped, the rate of bachelor degrees earned increased, and the median household income increased. In rural areas, where broadband serves to bridge geographic barriers, these benefits are particularly important.