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May 03, 2019

King Reintroduces Legislation to Overcome “Broadband Black Hole” and Study Economic Impacts

With no accurate, reliable data on the economic impact of broadband, lawmakers call for research to get baseline information

KITTERY, ME –U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), co-chairs of the Senate Broadband Caucus, have reintroduced the Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act. While the federal government measures the economic impact of many industries, it does not produce current, reliable statistics on the economic impact of broadband on the U.S. economy – despite a national outcry for information that can inform state and federal policymakers. The Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act would require the Bureau of Economic Analysis in consultation with the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Technology to conduct a study of the effects of broadband deployment and the digital economy on the U.S. economy.

“We know that the digital economy fuels innovation and connects people across the globe, but right now there’s a troubling broadband black hole where data should be, to identify the impact of broadband on economic growth. This means we don’t know exactly how many economic opportunities are being lost by communities who are currently falling behind – and that’s no way to make decisions,” said Senator King. “Learning precise data and reliable statistics will be helpful, not only for Congress, but also for experts and other community leaders who are making investments to help expand reliable, affordable, and high-speed internet access across the nation.”

In conducting this analysis, the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Technology will consider broadband deployment and adoption of digital-enabling infrastructure, e-commerce and platform-enabled peer-to-peer commerce, and the production and consumption of digital media. The Assistant Secretary may consult representatives of business, including rural and urban internet service providers and telecommunications infrastructure providers; state, local, and Tribal government agencies; and consumer and community organizations.

In addition to Senators King, Klobuchar and Capito, cosponsors of the bill include John Boozman (R-Ark.), who also serves as a co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus, as well as Senators Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.).

This legislation is endorsed by Connected Nation, NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association, WIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association, ITTA – The Voice of America’s Broadband Providers and CCIA.

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