IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
March 25, 2021
Ms. Hassan (for herself and Mrs. Capito) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
To direct the Federal Communications Commission to promulgate regulations that establish a national standard for determining whether mobile and broadband services available in rural areas are reasonably comparable to those services provided in urban areas.
This Act may be cited as the
Rural Reasonable and Comparable Wireless Access Act of 2021.
Availability of mobile broadband service in underserved rural areas
In this section:
The term Commission means the Federal Communications Commission.
Rural telephone company
The term rural telephone company has the meaning given the term in section 3 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 153).
The term service area has the meaning given the term in section 214(e) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 214(e)).
Mobile broadband service
The Commission shall define the term mobile broadband service for purposes of this section.
Establishment of standard
Commencement of rulemaking
Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall commence a rulemaking to establish a national standard to determine, with respect to access to universal service in rural, insular, and high cost areas under section 254(b)(3) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 254(b)(3)), whether mobile broadband service available in rural areas is reasonably comparable to mobile broadband service provided in urban areas.
Not less frequently than once every 180 days after commencing the rulemaking under paragraph (1), the Commission shall submit to Congress a report on the progress of the Commission in establishing the standard under that paragraph.
In establishing a standard under subsection (b), the Commission shall consider—
defining a rural area as any area—
in which a school or library designated as
rural under section 54.505(b)(3)(i) of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, as in effect on the date of enactment of this Act, is located; or
that is a service area that is served by a rural telephone company;
defining a rural area as underserved, with respect to mobile broadband service, if mobile broadband service that meets or exceeds the standard established under subsection (b) is not available in the area; and
providing that a rural area shall be considered underserved, with respect to mobile broadband service, if tests show that the average speed and signal strength of mobile broadband service available in the area do not meet or exceed the average speed and signal strength of mobile broadband service provided in the 20 most populous metropolitan statistical areas in the United States.
Data from urban areas
To help inform the standard established under subsection (b), the Commission shall gather, and periodically update, data on mobile broadband service provided in the 20 most populous metropolitan statistical areas in the United States.