WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators 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. Accurate, reliable data on the economic impact of broadband is a valuable tool for policymakers and business leaders and many research institutions, state broadband offices, and trade associations have highlighted the need for this data. 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. This legislation will provide the data needed to measure the benefits of broadband accessibility and the importance of investing in critical broadband infrastructure. I’m proud to join with my partner on the Senate Broadband Caucus to introduce a bill that will help bridge the digital divide in the areas that need it most,” Senator Capito said.
“Broadband is a great equalizing force for creating jobs, leveling the playing field, and increasing opportunity,” Senator Klobuchar said. “Our bipartisan legislation will help provide us with the reliable, publicly available economic data we need to make informed decisions about expanding broadband, connecting our communities, and keeping us 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 cosponsors of the bill include Senators 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 Senators 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.