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Broadband Data Improvement Act of 2008 (BDIA), Pub. L. No. 110-385 (Oct. 10, 2008) (full-text).
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
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. 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.
Subsequent developments Edit
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 aims at providing consumers with better information on the broadband services available to them and inform efforts to increase broadband availability nationwide.
The national broadband map will publicly display the geographic areas where broadband service is available; the technology used to provide the service; the speeds of the service; and broadband service availability at public schools, libraries, hospitals, colleges, universities, and public buildings. The national map will also be searchable by address, and broadband service providers will have the option to make their identity available.
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.