A group of U.S. Senators are urging the the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take specific, concrete steps to improve the accuracy of broadband coverage maps.

U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., sent a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai encouraging the FCC to look at legislative proposals introduced recently in Congress that include reforms requiring wired, fixed wireless, and satellite broadband providers to submit data like “shapefiles” that is more granular and precise to the commission.

“Precise, granular, and accurate data is essential to determining which parts of the country remain unserved and where to more efficiently target broadband deployment funding,” the senators wrote. “Improved data is essential for Congress and the Commission to identify where adequate broadband service is and is not, and how to avoid subsidizing overbuilding of existing networks.”

In May, Sens. Capito, Schatz, Moran and Tester introduced the Broadband Data Improvement Act of 2019 (BDIA), which would require broadband providers to report data to create an improved National Broadband Map that is significantly more accurate and granular, as well as subject to an ongoing and multi-faceted challenge, validation, and refinement process.

— Wendy Holdren

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