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110th Congress 
 1st Session                     SENATE                          Report
                                                                110-204
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                                                       Calendar No. 441

 
                     BROADBAND DATA IMPROVEMENT ACT

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 OF THE

                  COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND

                             TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                S. 1492






                October 24, 2007.--Ordered to be printed
       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                       one hundred tenth congress
                             first session

                   DANIEL K. INOUYE, Hawaii, Chairman
                   TED STEVENS, Alaska, Vice-Chairman
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West         JOHN McCAIN, Arizona
    Virginia                         TRENT LOTT, Mississippi
JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts         KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, Texas
BYRON L. DORGAN, North Dakota        OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine
BARBARA BOXER, California            GORDON H. SMITH, Oregon
BILL NELSON, Florida                 JOHN ENSIGN, Nevada
MARIA CANTWELL, Washington           JOHN E. SUNUNU, New Hampshire
FRANK R. LAUTENBERG, New Jersey      JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
MARK PRYOR, Arkansas                 DAVID VITTER, Louisiana
THOMAS CARPER, Delaware              JOHN THUNE, South Dakota
CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri
AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota
          Margaret Cummisky, Staff Director and Chief Counsel
         Lila Helms, Deputy Staff Director and Policy Director
       Jean Toal Eisen, Senior Advisor and Deputy Policy Director
     Christine Kurth, Republican Staff Director and General Counsel
                Paul J. Nagle, Republican Chief Counsel


110th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                    110-204

======================================================================




                     BROADBAND DATA IMPROVEMENT ACT

                                _______
                                

                October 24, 2007.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

       Mr. Inouye, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
                Transportation, submitted the following

                                 REPORT

                         [To accompany S. 1492]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 1492) to improve the quality of 
Federal and State data regarding the availability and quality 
of broadband services and to promote the deployment of 
affordable broadband services to all parts of the Nation, 
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment (in the nature of a substitute) and recommends that 
the bill (as amended) do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

  The purpose of S. 1492 is to improve the quality of data 
collected at State and Federal levels regarding the 
availability and robustness of broadband services and to 
promote the deployment of affordable broadband services to all 
parts of the Nation.

                          Background and Needs

  The Nation's success in the information age increasingly 
depends on a strong, advanced communications infrastructure 
that is accessible to all Americans. These capabilities not 
only allow individuals to communicate and exchange information 
but also serve as the platform on which much of entertainment, 
commerce, and communication will take place.
  For too many Americans, robust broadband technology is either 
not available or too expensive. Since 2001, the United States 
has slipped from fourth to fifteenth in per capita broadband 
use, according to statistics kept by the Organization for 
Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). According to 
another metric, from the International Telecommunications Union 
(ITU), known as the Digital Opportunity Index, which includes 
11 different variables of technology development, including the 
cost of connectivity relative to per capita income, the United 
States now ranks twenty-first.
  Although the U.S. Department of Defense Advanced Research 
Projects Agency developed the Internet and provided the Nation 
with a platform for leading the world in Internet technology, 
the next generation of Internet applications may not be 
developed here without the right policies. Nations with more 
substantial broadband infrastructures may be home to the next 
wave of digital research and development because they could be 
better positioned to reap the economic benefits of the 
broadband era. Some experts estimate that universal broadband 
adoption would add $500 billion to the Nation's economy and 
create 1.2 million new jobs.
  The lack of comprehensive data regarding the availability and 
penetration of broadband in the United States has hampered the 
development of effective policies to promote widespread access 
to affordable broadband service. As the General Accountability 
Office (GAO) noted in May 2006:

          [O]ne of the difficulties of assessing the gaps in 
        deployment and where to target any federal support is 
        that it is hard to know exactly where broadband 
        infrastructure has not been deployed. FCC does collect 
        data on the geographic extent of providers' service, 
        but these data are not structured in a way that 
        accurately illustrates the extent of deployment to 
        residential users. Without accurate, reliable data to 
        aid in analysis of the existing deployment gaps, it 
        will be difficult to develop policy responses toward 
        gaps in broadband availability. This could hinder our 
        country's attainment of universally available 
        broadband. And as the industry moves quickly to even 
        higher bandwidth broadband technologies, we risk 
        leaving some of the most rural places in America 
        behind.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\United States Government Accountability Office, Broadband 
Deployment Is Extensive throughout the United States, but It Is 
Difficult to Assess the Extent of Deployment Gaps in Rural Areas, p. 
38, GAO-06-426 (May 2006) (GAO Broadband Deployment Report).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Current broadband data collection efforts

    Efforts by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to 
measure the speed and quality of broadband deployment across 
the United States originated after Congress enacted of the 
Telecommunications Act of 1996. Under section 706 of that Act, 
the FCC is required to conduct regular inquiries concerning the 
availability of advanced telecommunications capability and to 
determine whether advanced telecommunications capability is 
being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely 
fashion. If such determination is negative, the statute further 
requires the FCC to ``take immediate action to accelerate 
deployment'' by ``removing barriers to infrastructure 
investment'' and ``promoting competition.''
    Pursuant to this direction, the FCC generally has defined 
broadband services as ``those services that deliver an 
information carrying capacity in excess of 200 kbps in at least 
one direction.''\2\ Upon adopting a 200 kilobits per second 
(kbps) standard, the FCC concluded that such speed was ``enough 
to provide the most popular forms of broadband--to change web 
pages as fast as one can flip through the pages of a book and 
to transmit full-motion video'' and further noted that ``as 
technologies evolve, the concept of broadband will evolve with 
it: we may consider today's `broadband' to be narrowband when 
tomorrow's technologies are deployed and consumer demand for 
higher bandwidth appears on a larger scale.''\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\Development of Nationwide Broadband Data to Evaluate Reasonable 
and Timely Deployment of Advanced Services to All Americans, 
Improvement of Wireless Broadband Subscribership Data, and Development 
of Data on Interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) 
Subscribership, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at para. 1, n. 2, WC 
Docket No. 07-38, FCC 07-17 (rel. April 16, 2007) (noting that services 
with an information capacity of 200 kbps in one direction also are 
described as ``high speed services'' in the FCC's Section 706 Reports, 
while services supporting an information capacity of 200 kbps in both 
directions are called ``advanced services'').
    \3\Inquiry Concerning the Deployment of Advanced Telecommunications 
Capability to All Americans in a Reasonable and Timely Fashion, and 
Possible Steps to Accelerate Such Deployment Pursuant to Section 706 of 
the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Report, 14 FCC 2d 2398 at 
para.para.20, 25, CC Docket No. 98-146, FCC 99-5 (rel. Feb. 2, 1999).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Following adoption of a technical standard for broadband, 
the FCC followed up in 2000 with an order establishing rules to 
facilitate the collection of basic information from providers 
regarding the deployment of broadband services and to create a 
standardized form (FCC Form 477).\4\ In establishing a regular 
and consistent survey of broadband deployment, the FCC 
emphasized the value of its approach noting that ``only a 
comprehensively imposed, mandatory data collection effort will 
provide us with a set of data of uniform quality and 
reliability.'' In 2004, the Commission extended its data 
collection efforts for another 5 years and made certain 
improvements to the FCC Form 477 requirements which included 
collecting information about higher speed broadband connections 
offered by providers.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\Local Competition and Broadband Reporting, Report and Order, WC 
Docket No. 04-141, 19 FCC Rcd 7717, 7724, para.para.11 et seq. (2000). 
In addition to broadband, the data collection order also required 
providers to submit data relevant to assessing the status of 
competition in the market for local telecommunications services.
    \5\Local Telephone Competition and Broadband Reporting, Report and 
Order, WC Docket No. 04-141, 19 FCC Rcd 22340 (2004).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Specifically, the FCC modified its Form 477 to require filers 
to determine what percentage of their broadband or high-speed 
connections are faster than 200 kbps in both directions, and to 
categorize these connections into five ``speed tiers'' based on 
the information transfer rate in the connection's faster 
direction: (1) greater than 200 kbps and less than 2.5 megabits 
per second (mbps); (2) greater than or equal to 2.5 mbps and 
less than 10 mbps; (3) greater than or equal to 10 mbps and 
less than 25 mbps; (4) greater than or equal to 25 mbps and 
less than 100 mbps; and (5) greater than or equal to 100 mbps. 
At the same time, the FCC also declined requests of some 
commenters to require reporting of information reflecting the 
actual number of broadband connections in a zip code or some 
other Census boundary and reporting about the price of 
broadband service offerings.\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\Id. at para. 28, 29.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Since FCC Form 477 was adopted in 2000, broadband service 
providers have submitted data 14 times. These data have been 
relied upon by the FCC not only in its twice yearly reports on 
the availability of high-speed Internet access services but 
also as part of its statutorily-required Section 706 Report 
which assesses whether advanced telecommunications capability 
is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely 
fashion. To date, the FCC has issued four Section 706 Reports 
and has concluded in each report that broadband is being 
deployed in a reasonable andtimely basis to all Americans. 
Without additional information, however, it is difficult to understand 
the conflict between the FCC's data and data from the OECD and the ITU.
    Some critics have questioned the FCC's findings and have 
focused on the lack of granularity afforded by the FCC's 
reliance on information that merely requires providers to list 
those 5-digit zip codes where they have at least one broadband 
subscriber. As a result, under the FCC's current methodology, 
if one subscriber in a zip code receives broadband, the FCC 
assumes that broadband service is available from that provider 
throughout the 5-digit zip code area. While this methodology 
has led the FCC to report that 99 percent of the U.S. 
population lives in the 99 percent of zip codes where broadband 
is available, these figures have been criticized as overstating 
actual levels of broadband deployment and actual levels of 
competition among providers, particularly in rural and other 
hard-to-serve areas. In May 2006, a report from the GAO 
highlighted these concerns by comparing FCC data to 
comprehensive data collected in Kentucky by a public-private 
alliance known as ConnectKentucky. As the GAO noted:

          Based on our analysis, we believe that the use of 
        subscriber indicators at the zip-code level to imply 
        availability, or deployment, may overstate 
        terrestrially based deployment. We were able to check 
        these findings for one state--Kentucky--where 
        ConnectKentucky, a state alliance on broadband, had 
        done an extensive analysis of its broadband deployment. 
        ConnectKentucky officials shared data with us 
        indicating that approximately 77 percent of households 
        in the state had broadband access available as of mid-
        2005. In contrast, we used population data within all 
        zip codes in Kentucky, along with FCC's 477 zip-code 
        data for that State, and determined that, according to 
        FCC's data, 96 percent of households in Kentucky live 
        in zip codes with broadband service at the end of 2004. 
        Thus, based on the experience in Kentucky, it appears 
        that FCC's data may overstate the availability and 
        competitive deployment of nonsatellite broadband.\7\

    \7\GAO Broadband Deployment Report at 17; see also United States 
Government Accountability Office, Telecommunications: Challenges to 
Assessing and Improving Telecommunications for Native Americans on 
Tribal Lands, GAO-06-189 (Jan. 2006) (noting that the 477 data do not 
provide a full description of broadband services for certain segments 
of the population, such as Native Americans residing on tribal lands).

    In addition to changes that would improve the granularity 
of deployment data, some critics of current data gathering 
practices also have called for revisions to the FCC's current 
200 kbps definition for broadband. In their view, continuing to 
assess the pace of broadband deployment against a technical 
standard created in 1999 ignores the significant changes that 
have occurred over the past eight years and contributes to our 
failure to keep up with other industrialized economies like 
Japan and Korea, where consumer broadband connections of 100 
mbps are not uncommon. At a minimum, such a consideration 
should include changes to current speed tier data to better 
measure deployment against the quality of broadband 
connections--including our ability to keep pace with other 
industrialized nations vis a vis the speed and prices of 
consumer broadband connections--and that also provide consumers 
with more meaningful information about the capabilities of 
higher-speed broadband connections, such as the connection 
speeds required to reliably transmit high-definition video and 
the actual average throughput received by subscribers.
    In response to the criticism about current broadband data, 
the FCC released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) seeking 
ways to improve its overall data collection on April 16, 2007. 
Specifically, the FCC asks for comment regarding what it can do 
to ensure that it receives sufficient information about the 
availability and deployment of broadband services nationwide, 
particularly in rural and other hard-to-serve areas, including 
tribal lands. The FCC also requested information about how it 
can improve the data about wireless broadband Internet access 
services that it currently collects on FCC Form 477, whether it 
should modify the current 200 kbps standard for broadband, and 
how to collect information about subscribership to 
interconnected voice over Internet Protocol service. It is 
unclear when the Commission may act on these matters.
    Other Federal and State sources also can help in improving 
our understanding of the pace and quality of broadband 
deployment. At the Federal level, data collected by the Census 
Bureau, which has been helpful in tracking levels of telephone 
subscribership, could be updated for an Internet age to better 
identify the pace of broadband deployment and remaining 
obstacles to residential adoption. Similarly, understanding 
patterns in computer ownership, broadband use, device 
attachment, termination fees, and bundling practices could 
improve understanding of demand for broadband services. Further 
understanding will come from studying the demographics of areas 
without broadband service and the usage patterns of distinct 
user communities, like small businesses.
    In addition, a national broadband policy should support and 
assist State efforts to work cooperatively at a local level in 
identifying areas where deployment or adoption of broadband may 
be lagging and in tailoring solutions to meet the needs of 
local communities. Kentucky provides just one example of such 
an approach where a State broadband alliance (ConnectKentucky) 
was created to undertake a broadband deployment and adoption 
plan. As part of that initiative, ConnectKentucky created 
detailed broadband inventory maps using Geographic Information 
System mapping technology and grassroots data collection via 
community technology leadership teams and cooperating broadband 
providers. These community teams also worked to develop 
community-specific plans to increase demand for broadband 
technology, and thereby make the community more attractive to 
potential broadband providers. Throughout the process, 
ConnectKentucky worked closely with broadband providers and 
respected their concerns about proprietary and confidential 
information. Following successes in Kentucky, other States are 
initiating similar initiatives which should be supported and 
coordinated at the Federal level to encourage consistency.
    Improved data at both the Federal and State level will 
provide support for policies that will expedite the deployment 
and adoption of broadband. Moreover, access to a more accurate 
picture of the state of broadband availability will be useful 
for providers seekingto enter markets and consumers interested 
in taking advantage of broadband services.
    At the Executive Session for S. 1492, Chairman Inouye 
offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute to clarify 
the broadband definitions used by the FCC and to prevent the 
disclosure of confidential information provided by broadband 
providers.

                         Summary of Provisions

    S. 1492, the Broadband Data Improvement Act, will improve 
the quality of Federal and State data regarding the 
availability and deployment of broadband services in order to 
promote the deployment of affordable broadband services to all 
parts of the Nation.
    The bill finds that the deployment and adoption of 
broadband has enhanced economic development, public safety, 
health care and educational opportunities. Moreover, continued 
progress in the deployment and adoption of broadband is vital 
to ensuring that the United States remains competitive and 
continues to create business and job growth. Improving Federal 
data regarding the state of broadband deployment and adoption 
will assist in the development of broadband technology across 
all regions of the Nation. In addition, the Federal government 
should encourage complementary State efforts to improve 
broadband data and public and private sector partnerships to 
support the continued growth of broadband services.
    The bill would require the FCC to reevaluate its current 
200 kbps standard for broadband. It also would require the FCC 
to revise its existing broadband reporting requirements to 
identify service tiers which can be used by consumers to 
reliably receive high-definition video content. It would update 
section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to require 
that the FCC annually inquire into the availability of 
broadband. As part of this effort, the FCC would be required to 
compile a list of unserved areas and, using Census Bureau data, 
study the population, population density, and average per 
capita income for each area.
    To improve data regarding the demand for broadband, the 
bill would direct the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation 
with the FCC, to expand the American Community Survey conducted 
by the Bureau of the Census to elicit information about 
residential household computer use and subscription to dial-up 
or broadband Internet service.
    The bill also would require the GAO to study and evaluate 
additional broadband metrics or standards to provide consumers 
with better information about the cost and capability of their 
broadband connection and to better compare the deployment and 
penetration of broadband. GAO would be required to issue a 
report to Congress within one year. The bill also would require 
the Office of Advocacy within the Small Business Administration 
to conduct a study evaluating the impact of broadband speed and 
price on small businesses. The Office of Advocacy would be 
required to issue a report to Congress within one year.
    To develop more granular data regarding the availability of 
broadband at a local level, the bill would create a matching 
grant program to be administered by the Secretary of Commerce. 
This program would assist States in entering into public-
private partnerships that would provide each State with a 
baseline assessment of broadband deployment. These grants would 
be used to collect data and create a geographic inventory map 
of broadband service in each State in order to identify any 
gaps in service. The bill would authorize $40 million per year 
for five years for these grants.

                          Legislative History

    The Broadband Data Improvement Act was introduced by 
Senator Inouye on May 24, 2007. Senators Dorgan, Pryor, 
Cantwell, Klobuchar, and Kerry are original cosponsors. 
Senators Nelson (FL), Obama, Carper, Boxer, Rockefeller, and 
Clinton are also cosponsors. On April 24, 2007, the Committee 
held a hearing entitled ``Communications, Broadband and 
Competitiveness: How Does the U.S. Measure Up?'' On July 19, 
2007, the Committee considered the bill in an open Executive 
Session. Chairman Inouye offered an amendment in the nature of 
a substitute. The substitute was adopted by voice vote. The 
Committee, without objection, ordered that S. 1492 be reported.

                            Estimated Costs

    In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 
Office:

                                                   August 27, 2007.
Hon. Daniel K. Inouye,
Chairman, Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1492, the Broadband 
Data Improvement Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Tyler 
Kruzich.
            Sincerely,
                                                   Peter R. Orszag.
    Enclosure.

S. 1492--Broadband Data Improvement Act

    Summary: S. 1492 would establish a federal grant program to 
support states' efforts to improve broadband communications 
service. It would require the Federal Communications Commission 
(FCC) to collect detailed data from broadband Internet 
companies. The bill would direct the Government Accountability 
Office to study broadband standards in the United States, as 
well as the availability and quality of broadband offerings in 
the United States and other countries. S. 1492 also would 
require the Small Business Administration to evaluate the 
impact of the speed and price of broadband service on small 
businesses.
    Based on information from affected agencies and assuming 
appropriation of the necessary amounts, CBO estimates that 
implementing S. 1492 would cost $202 million over the 2008-2012 
period. Enacting S. 1492 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues.
    S. 1492 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined 
in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no 
cost on state, local, or tribal governments.
    S. 1492 would impose a private-sector mandate, as defined 
in UMRA, on providers of broadband that currently submit 
broadband data reports to the FCC. Based on information from 
the FCC and industry sources, CBO estimates that the aggregate 
direct cost of complying with the mandate would fall below the 
annual threshold established by UMRA for private-sector 
mandates ($131 million in 2007, adjusted annually for 
inflation).
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of S. 1492 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 370 
(commerce and housing credit).

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      By fiscal year, in millions of
                                                 dollars--
                                 ---------------------------------------
                                   2008    2009    2010    2011    2012
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

State Broadband Data and
 Development Grant Program:
    Authorization Level.........      40      40      40      40      40
    Estimated Outlays...........      25      40      50      45      40
Studies and Reports:
    Estimated Authorization            2       0       0       0       0
     Level......................
    Estimated Outlays...........       1       1       0       0       0
Total:
    Estimated Authorization           42      40      40      40      40
     Level......................
    Estimated Outlays...........      26      41      50      45      40
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that S. 
1492 will be enacted near the start of fiscal year 2008 and 
that the necessary amounts will be appropriated for each fiscal 
year.

State broadband data and development grant program

    Section 6 would authorize the appropriation of $40 million 
annually over the 2008-2012 period for a grant program to 
support statewide initiatives to improve broadband service. 
Such grants would be used to measure, monitor, and expand the 
availability and use of broadband services. Based on historical 
spending patterns for similar activities, CBO estimates that 
the proposed grants would cost $25 million in 2008 and $200 
million over the 2008-2012 period, assuming appropriation of 
the specified amounts.

Studies and reports

    S. 1492 would require certain agencies to complete a 
variety of studies and reports related to broadband service. 
Based on information from the affected agencies, CBO estimates 
that fully funding those activities would cost $2 million over 
the next two years, assuming appropriation of the necessary 
funds.
    Estimated impact on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: 
S. 1492 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined in 
UMRA and would impose no cost on State, Local, or Tribal 
Governments.
    Estimated impact on the private sector: S. 1492 would 
impose a private-sector mandate, as defined in UMRA, because it 
would direct the FCC to revise its rule that requires providers 
of broadband services to report certain data. Under the bill, 
broadband providers would likely have to submit data on 
broadband availability and connections within nine-digit zip-
code areas, instead of by five-digit zip codes as is currently 
required. According to the FCC, broadband providers currently 
transmit data electronically, and CBO assumes that the method 
of transmission would not change. Providers may incur 
additional costs, however, to organize their data based on the 
nine-digit zip code. According to industry sources, a large 
portion of broadband providers, maintaining data for roughly 58 
million subscribers, already record information in this way. 
Consequently, CBO estimates that the incremental costs incurred 
by the industry to comply with the mandate would fall below the 
annual threshold for private-sector mandates. Depending on how 
the bill's requirements are implemented, however, the costs to 
the private sector could vary substantially.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Tyler Kruzich; Impact 
on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Elizabeth Cove; Impact 
on the Private Sector: Patrice Gordon.
    Estimate approved by: Theresa A. Gullo, Chief, State and 
Local Government Cost Estimates Unit, Budget Analysis Division.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

  In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       NUMBER OF PERSONS COVERED

  S. 1492 is intended to improve the quality of Federal and 
State data regarding the availability and deployment of 
broadband services. The bill affects providers of broadband 
services already subject to FCC broadband reporting 
obligations. As such, there is not a significant increase in 
the number of persons subject to FCC reporting requirements.

                            ECONOMIC IMPACT

  S. 1492 would not have an adverse economic impact on the 
Nation's economy.

                                PRIVACY

  The reported bill would have no significant impact on the 
personal privacy of United States citizens.

                               PAPERWORK

    The reported bill should not significantly increase 
paperwork requirements for individuals and businesses.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 would establish the short title as the 
``Broadband Data Improvement Act''.

Section 2. Findings

    Section 2 would make findings related to the bill.

Section 3. Improving federal data on broadband

    Section 3(a) would require the FCC to issue an order in 120 
days which would: revise or update, if necessary, the existing 
definitions of advanced telecommunications capability, or 
broadband; identify tiers of broadband service that would 
provide a substantial majority of consumers with the ability to 
reliably transmit full-motion, high definition video; and 
revise reporting requirements.
    Section 3(b) would direct the FCC to exempt an entity from 
the reporting requirements established in subsection 3(a) if it 
finds that compliance is cost prohibitive.
    Section 3(c) would amend section 706(b) of the 
Telecommunications Act of 1996 (47 U.S.C. 157 nt) by requiring 
the FCC to initiate a notice of inquiry concerning the 
availability of advanced telecommunications capability to all 
Americans on an annual, rather than a regular, basis. 
Subsection (c) also would redesignate existing section (c) as 
section (e) and add a new section (c) and (d).
    New section 706(c) would direct the FCC, in inquiring 
whether advanced telecommunications capability is being 
deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion, 
to consider data collected through FCC broadband reporting 
requirements, as amended by subsection (a).
    New section 706(d) would direct the FCC, as part of the 
annual inquiry described in amended section 706(b), to develop 
a list of geographical areas that are not served by any 
provider of advanced telecommunications capability and using 
Census Bureau data, determine the population, population 
density, and average per capita income for each such area.
    Section 3(d) would require the Secretary of Commerce, in 
consultation with the FCC, to expand the American Community 
Survey conducted by the Bureau of the Census to determine 
computer use and subscription to dial-up and broadband Internet 
access in residential households.

Section 4. Study on additional broadband metrics and standards

    Section 4(a) would require the Comptroller General to 
conduct a study to evaluate additional broadband metrics or 
standards to develop more accurate information about the cost 
and capability of broadband connections. At a minimum, this 
study would include an assessment of metrics that measure: the 
average price per megabits per second of broadband offerings; 
the actual speed compared to advertised speed of broadband 
offerings; the availability and quality of broadband offerings 
in the United States with the availability and quality of 
broadband offerings in other industrialized Nations using 
comparable metrics and standards; and the differences between 
complementary and substitutable broadband offerings.
    Section 4(b) would require the Comptroller General to 
report to on the study described in subsection (a) one year 
after enactment of this bill.

Section 5. Study on the impact of broadband speed and price on small 
        businesses

    Section 5(a) would require the Small Business 
Administration Office of Advocacy to conduct a study evaluating 
the impact of broadband speed and price on small businesses.
    Section 5(b) would require the Office of Advocacy to submit 
the report described in section 5(a) one year after enactment 
of this bill. This study would include: a survey of broadband 
speeds available to small businesses; a survey of the cost of 
broadband speeds available to small businesses; and a survey of 
the type of broadband technology used by small businesses. In 
addition, the study would include any policy recommendations 
that may improve small businesses' access to comparable 
broadband services at comparable rates in all regions of the 
Nation.

Section 6. Encouraging State initiatives to improve broadband

    Section 6(a) would describe the purposes of the grant 
program established under section 6.
    Section 6(b)(1) would direct the Secretary of Commerce to 
award grants to eligible entities for statewide initiatives to 
identify and track the availability of broadband services 
within each State.
    Section 6(b)(2) would direct the grants to be awarded on a 
competitive basis.
    Section 6(c) would define eligibility requirements for the 
grants, including requiring eligible entities seeking grants to 
submit applications for to the Secretary of Commerce, requiring 
eligible entities seeking grants to contribute matching non-
Federal funds for at least 20 percent of the total amount of 
the grant, and requiring eligible entities seeking grants to 
comply with confidentiality requirements in section 6.
    Section 6(d)(1) would require the Secretary of Commerce to 
develop regulations to require technical and scientific peer 
review of applications made for grants under section 6.
    Section 6(d)(2) would require that the regulations 
developed under section 6(d)(1) require that technical and 
scientific peer review groups: be provided a written 
description of the grant to be reviewed; provide the results of 
any review to the Secretary of Commerce; and certify that they 
will prevent the unauthorized disclosure of confidential and 
proprietary information provided by broadband service 
providers.
    Section 6(e) would describe how grants under subsection (b) 
would be required to be used.
    Section 6(e)(1) would require that the funds be used to 
provide a baseline assessment of broadband service deployment 
in each State.
    Section 6(e)(2)(A) would require that the funds be used to 
identify and track areas in each State that have low levels 
ofbroadband service deployment. Section 6(e)(2)(B) would require that 
the funds be used to identify and track the rate at which residential 
and business users are adopting broadband. Section 6(e)(2)(C) would 
require that the funds be used to identify and track suppliers of such 
services.
    Section 6(e)(3) would require that the funds be used to 
identify barriers to the adoption by individuals and business 
of broadband services, including an assessment of demand and 
supply.
    Section 6(e)(4) would require that the funds be used to 
identify the speeds of broadband connections made available to 
individuals and businesses within the State, relying, at a 
minimum, on the data rate benchmarks for broadband service 
described in section 3.
    Section 6(e)(5) would require that the funds be used to 
create and facilitate, in each county or designated region, a 
local technology planning team with members representing a 
cross section of the community, benchmarking technology use 
across community sectors, setting goals for improved technology 
use within each sector, and developing a tactical business plan 
for achieving its goals.
    Section 6(e)(6) would require that the funds be used to 
work collaboratively with broadband service providers and 
information technology companies to encourage deployment and 
use, through local demand aggregation, mapping analysis and the 
creation of market intelligence to improve the business case 
for providers.
    Section 6(e)(7) would require that the funds be used to 
establish programs to improve computer ownership and Internet 
access.
    Section 6(e)(8) would require that the funds be used to 
collect and analyze detailed market data concerning demand for 
broadband service and related information technology services.
    Section 6(e)(9) would require that the funds be used to 
facilitate information exchange regarding the use and demand 
for broadband services between the public and private sectors.
    Section 6(e)(10) would require that the funds be used to 
create within each State a geographic inventory map of 
broadband service
    Section 6(f) would limit an eligible entity to receive a 
new grant under section 6 if the same organization obtained 
prior grant awards to fund the same activities in that State in 
each of the previous four years.
    Section 6(g) would require the Secretary of Commerce to 
have each recipient of a grant to submit a report on the use of 
funds provided by the grant and would require the Secretary of 
Commerce to create a web page on the Department of Commerce web 
site that aggregates relevant information made available to the 
public by grant recipients.
    Section 6(h) would require the FCC to provide eligible 
entities electronic access to aggregated broadband reporting 
data and would specifically require eligible entities to treat 
trade secrets, commercial or financial information, or 
privileged or confidential information as records not subject 
to public disclosure.
    Section 6(i) would define terms in the bill.
    Section 6(j) authorizes $40 million per year for the State 
Broadband Data and Development Grant Program in each of fiscal 
years 2008 through 2012.
    Section 6(k) clarifies that this section does not grant 
public or private entities established or affected by this Act 
any regulatory jurisdiction or oversight authority over 
providers of broadband services or information technology.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
material is printed in italic, existing law in which no change 
is proposed is shown in roman):

                     TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1996


SEC. 706. ADVANCED TELECOMMUNICATIONS INCENTIVES.

                          [47 U.S.C. 157 note]

    (a) In General.--The Commission and each State commission 
with regulatory jurisdiction over telecommunications services 
shall encourage the deployment on a reasonable and timely basis 
of advanced telecommunications capability to all Americans 
(including, in particular, elementary and secondary schools and 
classrooms) by utilizing, in a manner consistent with the 
public interest, convenience, and necessity, price cap 
regulation, regulatory forbearance, measures that promote 
competition in the local telecommunications market, or other 
regulating methods that remove barriers to infrastructure 
investment.
    (b) Inquiry.--The Commission shall, within 30 months after 
the date of enactment of this Act, and [regularly] annually 
thereafter, initiate a notice of inquiry concerning the 
availability of advanced telecommunications capability to all 
Americans (including, in particular, elementary and secondary 
schools and classrooms) and shall complete the inquiry within 
180 days after its initiation. In the inquiry, the Commission 
shall determine whether advanced telecommunications capability 
is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely 
fashion. If the Commission's determination is negative, it 
shall take immediate action to accelerate deployment of such 
capability by removing barriers to infrastructure investment 
and by promoting competition in the telecommunications market.
    (c) Measurement of Extent of Deployment.--In determining 
under subsection (b) whether advanced telecommunications 
capability is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable 
and timely fashion, the Commission shall consider data 
collected through Form 477 reporting requirements.
    (d) Demographic Information for Unserved Areas.--As part of 
the inquiry required by subsection (b), the Commission shall 
compile a list of geographical areas that are not served by any 
provider of advanced telecommunications capability (as defined 
by section 706(c)(1) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (47 
U.S.C. 157 nt)) and to the extent that data from the Census 
Bureau is available, determine, for each such unserved area--
          (1) the population;
          (2) the population density; and
          (3) the average per capita income.
    [(c)] (e) Definitions.--For purposes of this subsection:
          (1) Advanced telecommunications capability.--The term 
        ``advanced telecommunications capability'' is defined, 
        without regard to any transmission media or technology, 
        as an evolving level of high-speed, switched, broadband 
        telecommunications capability that enables users to 
        originate and receive high-quality voice, data, 
        graphics, and video telecommunications using any 
        technology.
          (2) Elementary and secondary schools.--The term 
        ``elementary and secondary school'' means elementary 
        and secondary schools, as defined in section 9101 of 
        the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.