December 14, 2018
SCARBOROUGH, ME – Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed the Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act, a bill led by 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. The bipartisan bill requires the Bureau of Economic Analysis to conduct a study of the effects of broadband deployment and adoption on the U.S. economy. 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. Accurate, reliable data on the economic impact of broadband is a valuable tool for policymakers and business leaders and many research institutions, state broadband offices, and trade associations have highlighted the need for this data.
“We know that access to affordable, high-speed broadband has the ability to transform the way rural communities conduct business – but without accurate data, we don’t know how much economic value it provides,” said Senator King. “By collecting this information, policymakers, businesses and community leaders will have the tools they need to pursue smart investments to boost connectivity and improve local economies.”
In conducting this analysis, the Secretary of Commerce will consider job creation, business headcount, online commerce, income, education and distance learning, telehealth, telework, agriculture, population growth, population density, broadband speed, and geography. The 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 Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), and John Boozman (R-Ark.), who also serve as co-chairs of the Senate Broadband Caucus, as well as Senators Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.).
This legislation is supported by Connected Nation, NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association, CTIA, and WIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association.