Congresspeople on both sides of the aisle want to see a new National Broadband Map. According to reporting from Broadcasting and Cable, the House Communications Subcommittee is taking a hard look at national broadband infrastructure and wants to see current penetration data.
During the Obama administration, communications officials put together the first National Broadband Map which showed broadband service areas and connection speeds, but updates ultimately stopped in 2014 following a cut in funding for the initiative.
As CivSource previously reported, there is some congressional support for as much as $20 billion in broadband funding as part of a broader national infrastructure package. Supporters of the funding want to see broadband service expanded into rural and other underserved areas throughout the US.
According to the Broadcasting & Cable piece, lawmakers are not only looking at expansion but also improvement of the existing broadband fiber infrastructure in order to support new technologies like 5G connectivity.
In a hearing this week, members of the committee said they would first need to update the map in order to figure out current service levels.
Notably, ranking members Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) also emphasized that attempting to solve expansion through the use of tax credits wouldn’t help areas where populations are sparse. Carriers routinely note that expansion into small towns and rural areas is uneconomic because there aren’t enough subscribers, that issue won’t be solved by tax credits.