Broadband data (U.S.)
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|Managing editor's note: This article is part of the 2007 project to build an open library of research and data to inform Sen. Dick Durbin's national broadband policy project. Please help out by expanding these articles - a good place to start is to look through the links listed under "external resources" in the article's sections and/or at the end of the article.|
As broadband becomes an increasingly important part of the economy and daily life, Congress has begun to focus on the importance of studying broadband, to consider what public policies should be directed at it. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has collected statistics on broadband (which it defines as a data connection with at least 200 kilobits per second - kbps - in at least one direction) from all providers since 2000. However, little of this data is open to the public. There is currently at least one lawsuit to force the FCC to release their data and at least one bill in Congress to mandate the release as well as the collection of better local data on broadband availability.
The movement to provide the public with data on broadband availability has picked up steam in 2007. Public disclosure would also allow Internet users to better gauge the accuracy of existing FCC statistics. And it would highlight the areas in which competitive broadband service is lacking – and why.
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) in June 2007 introduced S. 1492, the Broadband Data Improvement Act. The bill would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to supplement the information it currently collects about broadband deployment with more localized data, including ZIP code plus four digits. It calls for the creation of online maps showing the avai