Citation[edit | edit source]

Broadband Data Improvement Act of 2008 (BDIA), Pub. L. No. 110-385 (Oct. 10, 2008) (full-text).

Overview[edit | edit source]

The Act established a variety of initiatives intended to improve the quality of state and federal data on the availability and quality of broadband services, and promote the deployment of affordable broadband services to all parts of the nation.

FTC requirements[edit | edit source]

The Act requires the Federal Communications Commission to conduct and make public periodic surveys of consumers in urban, suburban, and rural areas in the large business, small business, and residential consumer markets to determine the types of technology used to provide the broadband service capability to which consumers subscribe; the amounts consumers pay per month for such capability; the actual data transmission speeds of such capability; the types of applications and services consumers most frequently use in conjunction with such capability; for consumers who have declined to subscribe to broadband service capability, the reasons given by such consumers for declining such capability; other sources of broadband service capability that consumers regularly use or on which they rely; and any other information the FCC deems appropriate for such purpose.[1] On March 31, 2009, the FCC issued a public notice that sought comments from stakeholders on how the FCC should fulfill this requirement and currently has these comments under review.[2]

National Telecommunications and Information Administration[edit | edit source]

The Act directed the Department of Commerce to establish a state broadband data and development grant program.[3] On July 1, 2009, the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced details of a grant program (the "State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program") to fund collection of state-level broadband data, as well as state-wide broadband mapping and planning, which will assist NTIA in creating a national broadband map. This initiative aimed at providing consumers with better information on the broadband services available to them and inform efforts to increase broadband availability nationwide.

One of the purposes of the program was to assist states in gathering data twice a year on the availability, speed, and location of broadband service as well as on the broadband services used by community institutions, such as schools, libraries, and hospitals. This data was used to establish the National Broadband Map, the first public, searchable, nationwide map of broadband availability, which was launched in 2011.[4] The National Broadband Map was decommissioned on December 21, 2018, due to the age of the data. Mapping responsibility shifted to the FCC.[5].

In the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-141), Congress provided $7.5 million to NTIA to develop the National Broadband Availability Map. Specifically, Congress directed NTIA to acquire and display available third-party data sets to augment data from the FCC, other federal government agencies, state governments, and the private sector. The stated objective of this funding was "to help identify regions with insufficient service, especially in rural areas."[6]

NTIA's grant awards can also include funding for state broadband planning. Planning projects may include, for example, efforts to identify barriers to broadband adoption in a state and creation of local technology planning teams. Awardees will be required to provide at least 20% non-federal matching funds toward project costs. While the program mandates that each state may have only a single, eligible entity perform the mapping, each state's applicant will be carefully evaluated under the standards described in NTIA's Notice of Funds Availability. If an applicant does not meet the program standards, it will not receive funding and NTIA may perform the necessary broadband data collection.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 47 U.S.C. §1303(c).
  2. Comparison and Consumer Survey Requirements in the Broadband Data Improvement Act, Public Notice, 24 FCC Rcd 3908 (2009).
  3. P.L. 110-385 directed, but did not provide funding for, the establishment of a state broadband data and development grant program.
  4. NTIA, "State Broadband Initiative" (full-text).
  5. Rich Mansfield, “Decommissioning of the National Broadband Map and Its APIs,” FCC (Dec. 7, 2018) (full-text)
  6. ”Joint Explanatory Statement,” Congressional Record, vol. 164, part 50—Book II (March 22, 2018), at H2084-H2085.
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