Capito co-sponsors bill to measure economic impact of broadband

U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., co-chairs of the Senate Broadband Caucus, have introduced bipartisan legislation to measure the economic impact of broadband on the U.S. economy.

While the federal government measures the economic impact of many industries, it does not produce current, reliable statistics on the economic impact of broadband on the U.S. economy. 

In a release, the senators said data on the economic impact of broadband is a valuable tool for policymakers and business leaders. The Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act would require the Bureau of Economic Analysis to conduct a study of the effects of broadband deployment and adoption on the U.S. economy.

“Broadband connectivity has the power to unleash jobs and fuel economic growth throughout the country, especially in rural areas like West Virginia,” Capito said. “This legislation will provide the data needed to measure the benefits of broadband accessibility and the importance of investing in critical broadband infrastructure.”

Klobuchar added, “Broadband is a great equalizing force for creating jobs, leveling the playing field, and increasing opportunity.”

She said the legislation will help provide the reliable, publicly available economic data needed to make informed decisions about expanding broadband, connecting communities, and staying competitive in an increasingly digital world.

In conducting this analysis, the secretary will consider job creation, business headcount, online commerce, income, education and distance learning, telehealth, telework, agriculture, population growth, population density, broadband speed and geography. 

The secretary may consult representatives of business, including rural and urban internet service providers and telecommunications infrastructure providers; state, local, and Tribal government agencies; and consumer and community organizations.

Other original co-sponsors of the bill include Sens. Angus King, I-Maine; Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.; and John Boozman, R-Ark., who are the other co-chairs of the Senate Broadband Caucus, and Sens. Al Franken, D-Minn., and Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, both members of the Senate Broadband Caucus.

This legislation is supported by Connected Nation, NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association, CTIA, and WIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association.

By:  Wendy Holdren
Source: Beckley Register-Herald