House Committee Approves Broadband Census Act

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Back to back bills in the Congress offer a glimmer of hope to those concerned about the state of broadband penetration in America; back to back moves show a Congress willing to step up where the Federal Communications Commission has failed.

A day after presidential candidate Barack Obama pledged to push for Network Neutrality protections, both the Senate and the House of Representatives introduced broadband related bills out of committee.

Yesterday, the Community Broadband Act was passed out of the Senate Commerce Committee and will proceed to the Senate floor. Shortly after, the House Energy Commerce Committee approved the Broadband Census of America Act, legislation aimed at creating better measurement of broadband access.

Federal Communications Commission
The FCC has been roundly criticized for using an outdated and unrepresentative method for measuring broadband penetration, and thus relying on numbers favorable to incumbent telecom and cable providers seeking to extend monopolistic and duopolistic presences throughout most of America.

"Until now, virtually nothing has been done to gather data about the current broadband market," said Ben Scott, policy director of Free Press. "This bill represents a giant leap forward in our knowledge and will help spotlight the market failures that threaten to stunt innovation and endanger our global competitiveness."

Depending on which report you read, the US ranks between 13th and 22nd in broadband penetration and speed.

Obama’s pledge and the two bills passed out of committee follow Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) call for the Senate Commerce Committee to hold a hearing evaluating the need for Network Neutrality legislation.

House Committee Approves Broadband Census Act
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