The Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act (S. 1822), sponsored by Senator Rodger Wicker (R-Mississippi), would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to collect detailed data twice-a-year on the availability of broadband internet access services.
Under the bill, the FCC would establish and maintain a comprehensive database and create detailed and publicly available broadband coverage maps. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently estimated that the bill would cost the FCC approximately $65 million over the 2020-2024 period. However, because the FCC is allowed to collect fees to offset the costs, CBO estimates the net effect on spending would be insignificant.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai stated his fear that a patchwork of local and state regulations on internet technologies could hurt the competitiveness of the US in the tech sector. As the FCC has continued deregulation at the federal level, states have stepped in to fill the void with their own regulation. California has been at the forefront of this effort with their passing of internet protections following the dismantling of net neutrality. Chairman Pai argued that “while that federalist system has served us very well” up to this point in our nation’s history, it’s time for Congress to consider “whether or not we can still maintain a multilayer regulatory system.” He said allowing states and local governments to pass their own laws regulating internet services, creates market uncertainty.