Data & Mapping

Pandemic Amplifies Calls for Universal Broadband

The coronavirus is putting a klieg light on an already hot topic in Washington, the digital divide, and is fueling new government subsidies for high-speed broadband in rural areas and new calls for more from Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and industry by those pushing to close the divide. “Our longstanding digital divide has morphed into a monstrous new COVID-19 divide,” said FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks. FCC Chairman Ajit  Pai has been waiving regulations and calling on Internet service providers to keep America connected, a call they have been answering.

Chairman Pai's Response to Senators Regarding the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

On March 9, 24 senators wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to express concerns about key details of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), particularly excluding areas that are awarded funding through the US Department of Agriculture's ReConnect program and state-run broadband deployment or subsidy programs from being eligible for the RDOF.

Congress Tells FCC to Fix Broadband Maps Now

On March 23, 2020, President Donald Trump signed into law the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act. The new law requires the Federal Communications Commission, before the end of the summer, to dramatically reform the nation's problematic broadband deployment maps.

How a controversial new broadband map may finally bring fast internet to everyone in America

The newly signed Broadband DATA Act calls for the Federal Communications Commission to develop a more detailed and accurate map that reflects more granular and accurate data about broadband markets. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has complained that his agency would need more time and money to abandon its current mapping method and adopt a new one that fits the requirements of the bill. “At this point, it is vital for Congress to provide the FCC as soon as possible with the appropriations necessary to implement the Act,” Chairman Pai said recently.

Progress Report: American Broadband Initiative Turns One

Federal agencies have made significant progress across government to improve broadband access for Americans in the year following the launch of the American Broadband Initiative (ABI). The Trump Administration announced the launch of the initiative in Feb 2019 with the release of the Milestones Report, which outlined commitments made by federal agencies to improve broadband resources.

Chairman Pai Statement on the Broadband Data Act

I applaud the President for signing the Broadband DATA Act and thank the leadership of the Senate and House Commerce Committees for their bipartisan work in moving this legislation through Congress. The Act affirms the Federal Communications Commission’s approach to collecting more precise and granular broadband data through our new Digital Opportunity Data Collection program. At this point, it is vital for Congress to provide the FCC as soon as possible with the appropriations necessary to implement the Act.

House Commerce Leaders Applaud Signing of 5G Security and Broadband Mapping Legislation

House Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR), Communications Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Bob Latta (R-OH) released the following statement today after President Trump signed the Secure 5G and Beyond Act of 2020 (S. 893) and the Broadband DATA Act (S. 1822) into law:

Chairman Pai's Response to Sen Manchin Regarding Mobility Fund Phase II

On Feb 23, 2020, Sen Joe Manchin (D-WV) wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to urge him to "revise the aggressive timeline outline for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) and postpone the initial auction until after the eligibility maps can be challenged and verified." Sen Manchin also wrote Chairman Pai on Dec 3, 2019 to describe specific examples in West Virginia of unreliable broadband service.

How broadband inequality complicates COVID-19 school closures in rural areas

To help illustrate some of the stark realities of what rural Americans are experiencing in the wake of this monumental health crisis, Center on Rural Innovation’s Mapping and Data Analytics team has created an interactive broadband map to better visualize and understand broadband availability across America’s school districts. The maps consider broadband to be internet service that:

Chairman Pai's Response to Member of Congress Regarding Mobility Fund Phase II

On Jan 9, 2020, Sens Joe Manchin (D-WV), James Lankford (R-OK), Jon Tester (D-MT), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and John Kennedy (R-LA) wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to express reservations about the 5G Fund and the decision to focus limited mobile broadband deployment dollars on the promise of a 5G future when many places still lack 4G service or do not have any service at all.