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Text of the Broadband Data Improvement Act

This bill was enacted after being signed by the President on October 10, 2008. The text of the bill below is as of May 24, 2007 (Introduced).

This is not the latest text of this bill.

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Source: GPO

S 1492 IS

110th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 1492

To improve the quality of Federal and State data regarding the availability and quality of broadband services and to promote the deployment of affordable broadband services to all parts of the Nation.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 24, 2007

Mr. INOUYE (for himself, Mr. DORGAN, Mr. PRYOR, Ms. CANTWELL, Ms. KLOBUCHAR, and Mr. KERRY) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation


A BILL

To improve the quality of Federal and State data regarding the availability and quality of broadband services and to promote the deployment of affordable broadband services to all parts of the Nation.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Broadband Data Improvement Act'.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds the following:

      (1) The deployment and adoption of broadband technology has resulted in enhanced economic development and public safety for communities across the Nation, improved health care and educational opportunities, and a better quality of life for all Americans.

      (2) Continued progress in the deployment and adoption of broadband technology is vital to ensuring that our Nation remains competitive and continues to create business and job growth.

      (3) Improving Federal data on the deployment and adoption of broadband service will assist in the development of broadband technology across all regions of the Nation.

      (4) The Federal Government should also recognize and encourage complementary state efforts to improve the quality and usefulness of broadband data and should encourage and support the partnership of the public and private sectors in the continued growth of broadband services and information technology for the residents and businesses of the Nation.

SEC. 3. IMPROVING FEDERAL DATA ON BROADBAND.

    (a) IMPROVING FCC BROADBAND DATA- Within 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Federal Communications Commission shall issue an order in WC docket No. 07-38 which shall, at a minimum--

      (1) revise or update, if determined necessary, the existing definitions of advanced telecommunications capability, or broadband;

      (2) establish a new definition of second generation broadband to reflect a data rate that is not less than the data rate required to reliably transmit full-motion, high-definition video; and

      (3) revise its Form 477 reporting requirements to require filing entities to report broadband connections and second generation broadband connections by 5-digit postal zip code plus 4-digit location.

    (b) EXCEPTION- The Commission shall exempt an entity from the reporting requirements of subsection (a)(3) if the Commission determines that a compliance by that entity with the requirements is cost prohibitive, as defined by the Commission.

    (c) Improving Section 706 Inquiry- Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (47 U.S.C. 157 nt) is amended--

      (1) by striking `regularly' in subsection (b) and inserting `annually';

      (2) by redesignating subsection (c) as subsection (e); and

      (3) by inserting after subsection (b) the following:

    `(c) MEASUREMENT OF EXTENT OF DEPLOYMENT- In determining under subsection (b) whether advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion, the Commission shall consider data collected using 5-digit postal zip code plus 4-digit location.

    `(d) DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION FOR UNSERVED AREAS- As part of the inquiry required by subsection (b), the Commission shall, using 5-digit postal zip code plus 4-digit location information, compile a list of geographical areas that are not served by any provider of advanced telecommunications capability (as defined by section 706(c)(1) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (47 U.S.C. 157 nt)) and to the extent that data from the Census Bureau is available, determine, for each such unserved area--

      `(1) the population;

      `(2) the population density; and

      `(3) the average per capita income.';

      (4) by inserting `an evolving level of' after `technology,' in paragraph (1) of subsection (e), as redesignated.

    (d) IMPROVING CENSUS DATA ON BROADBAND- The Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Federal Communications Commission, shall expand the American Community Survey conducted by the Bureau of the Census to elicit information for residential households, including those located on native lands, to determine whether persons at such households own or use a computer at that address, whether persons at that address subscribe to Internet service and, if so, whether such persons subscribe to dial-up or broadband Internet service at that address.

SEC. 4. STUDY ON ADDITIONAL BROADBAND METRICS AND STANDARDS.

    (a) IN GENERAL- The Comptroller General shall conduct a study to consider and evaluate additional broadband metrics or standards that may be used by industry and the Federal Government to provide users with more accurate information about the cost and capability of their broadband connection, and to better compare the deployment and penetration of broadband in the United States with other countries. At a minimum, such study shall consider potential standards or metrics that may be used--

      (1) to calculate the average price per megabyte of broadband offerings;

      (2) to reflect the average actual speed of broadband offerings compared to advertised potential speeds;

      (3) to compare the availability and quality of broadband offerings in the United States with the availability and quality of broadband offerings in other industrialized nations, including countries that are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; and

      (4) to distinguish between complementary and substitutable broadband offerings in evaluating deployment and penetration.

    (b) REPORT- Not later than one year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General shall submit a report to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce on the results of the study, with recommendations for how industry and the Federal Communications Commission can use such metrics and comparisons to improve the quality of broadband data and to better evaluate the deployment and penetration of comparable broadband service at comparable rates across all regions of the Nation.

SEC. 5. STUDY ON THE IMPACT OF BROADBAND SPEED AND PRICE ON SMALL BUSINESSES.

    (a) IN GENERAL- The Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy shall conduct a study evaluating the impact of broadband speed and price on small businesses.

    (b) REPORT- Not later than one year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Office shall submit a report to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, and the House of Representatives Committee on Small Business on the results of the study, including--

      (1) a survey of broadband speeds available to small businesses;

      (2) a survey of the cost of broadband speeds available to small businesses;

      (3) a survey of the type of broadband technology used by small businesses; and

      (4) any policy recommendations that may improve small businesses access to comparable broadband services at comparable rates in all regions of the Nation.

SEC. 6. ENCOURAGING STATE INITIATIVES TO IMPROVE BROADBAND.

    (a) Purposes- The purposes of any grant under subsection (b) are--

      (1) to ensure that all citizens and businesses in a State have access to affordable and reliable broadband service;

      (2) to achieve improved technology literacy, increased computer ownership, and home broadband use among such citizens and businesses;

      (3) to establish and empower local grassroots technology teams in each State to plan for improved technology use across multiple community sectors; and

      (4) to establish and sustain an environment ripe for broadband services and information technology investment.

    (b) Establishment of State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary of Commerce shall award grants, taking into account the results of the peer review process under subsection (d), to eligible entities for the development and implementation of statewide initiatives to identify and track the availability and adoption of broadband services within each State.

      (2) COMPETITIVE BASIS- Any grant under subsection (b) shall be awarded on a competitive basis.

    (c) Eligibility- To be eligible to receive a grant under subsection (b), an eligible entity shall--

      (1) submit an application to the Secretary of Commerce, at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require; and

      (2) contribute matching non-Federal funds in an amount equal to not less than 20 percent of the total amount of the grant.

    (d) Peer Review; Nondisclosure-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall by regulation require appropriate technical and scientific peer review of applications made for grants under this section.

      (2) REVIEW PROCEDURES- The regulations required under paragraph (1) shall require that any technical and scientific peer review group--

        (A) be provided a written description of the grant to be reviewed;

        (B) provide the results of any review by such group to the Secretary of Commerce; and

        (C) certify that such group will enter into voluntary nondisclosure agreements as necessary to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of confidential and proprietary information provided by broadband service providers in connection with projects funded by any such grant.

    (e) Use of Funds- A grant awarded to an eligible entity under subsection (b) shall be used--

      (1) to provide a baseline assessment of broadband service deployment in each State;

      (2) to identify and track--

        (A) areas in each State that have low levels of broadband service deployment;

        (B) the rate at which residential and business users adopt broadband service and other related information technology services; and

        (C) possible suppliers of such services;

      (3) to identify barriers to the adoption by individuals and businesses of broadband service and related information technology services, including whether or not--

        (A) the demand for such services is absent; and

        (B) the supply for such services is capable of meeting the demand for such services;

      (4) to identify the speeds of broadband connections made available to individuals and businesses within the State, and, at a minimum, to rely on the data rate benchmarks for broadband and second generation broadband identified by the Federal Communications Commission to promote greater consistency of data among the States;

      (5) to create and facilitate in each county or designated region in a State a local technology planning team--

        (A) with members representing a cross section of the community, including representatives of business, telecommunications labor organizations, K-12 education, health care, libraries, higher education, community-based organizations, local government, tourism, parks and recreation, and agriculture; and

        (B) which shall--

          (i) benchmark technology use across relevant community sectors;

          (ii) set goals for improved technology use within each sector; and

          (iii) develop a tactical business plan for achieving its goals, with specific recommendations for online application development and demand creation;

      (6) to work collaboratively with broadband service providers and information technology companies to encourage deployment and use, especially in unserved and underserved areas, through the use of local demand aggregation, mapping analysis, and the creation of market intelligence to improve the business case for providers to deploy;

      (7) to establish programs to improve computer ownership and Internet access for unserved and underserved populations;

      (8) to collect and analyze detailed market data concerning the use and demand for broadband service and related information technology services;

      (9) to facilitate information exchange regarding the use and demand for broadband services between public and private sectors; and

      (10) to create within each State a geographic inventory map of broadband service, and where feasible second generation broadband service, which shall--

        (A) identify gaps in such service through a method of geographic information system mapping of service availability at the census block level; and

        (B) provide a baseline assessment of statewide broadband deployment in terms of households with high-speed availability.

    (f) Participation Limit- For each State, an eligible entity may not receive a new grant under this section to fund the activities described in subsection (d) within such State if such organization obtained prior grant awards under this section to fund the same activities in that State in each of the previous 4 consecutive years.

    (g) Reporting- The Secretary of Commerce shall--

      (1) require each recipient of a grant under subsection (b) to submit a report on the use of the funds provided by the grant; and

      (2) create a web page on the Department of Commerce web site that aggregates relevant information made available to the public by grant recipients, including, where appropriate, hypertext links to any geographic inventory maps created by grant recipients under subsection (e)(10).

    (h) Definitions- In this section:

      (1) ELIGIBLE ENTITY- The term `eligible entity' means a non-profit organization that is selected by a State to work in partnership with State agencies and private sector partners in identifying and tracking the availability and adoption of broadband services within each State.

      (2) NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION- The term `nonprofit organization' means an organization--

        (A) described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from tax under section 501(a) of such Code;

        (B) no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any member, founder, contributor, or individual;

        (C) that has an established competency and proven record of working with public and private sectors to accomplish widescale deployment and adoption of broadband services and information technology; and

        (D) the board of directors of which is not composed of a majority of individuals who are also employed by, or otherwise associated with, any Federal, State, or local government or any Federal, State, or local agency.

    (i) Authorization of Appropriations- There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $40,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2008 through 2012.

    (j) No Regulatory Authority- Nothing in this section shall be construed as giving any public or private entity established or affected by this Act any regulatory jurisdiction or oversight authority over providers of broadband services or information technology.

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