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Senate Approves Broadband Data Bill
Last week, the Senate passed the "Broadband Data Improvement Act" (S. 1492), legislation that would improve the information gathered at the federal and state level on the availability, speed and value of high-speed Internet service.
The bill's approval follows similar legislation -- the "Broadband Census of America Act" (H.R. 3919), sponsored by Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) -- which passed in the House last fall.
Ben Scott, policy director of Free Press, issued the following statement:
"With this legislation, the Senate has taken a crucial step toward a national broadband policy. The data collected would lay the foundation for policies in the next Congress to promote universal, affordable high-speed Internet access for all Americans.
"Our current broadband data collection system has had serious problems for years. The absence of accurate information about the price, speed and availability of high-speed broadband has crippled our government's ability to advance innovative technology policies. In the last year, the FCC has taken some very important steps toward solving these problems. This bill gives more momentum to that progress.
"The Bush administration promised universal, affordable broadband access by 2007. Nearly a year past that deadline, we are still a long way from that goal. As high-speed Internet access becomes an economic and social necessity, closing the digital divide must be a national priority. We hope to see Congress pass this legislation without delay."