Hoeven: Senate Passes Legislation to Improve FCC's Broadband Mapping

Senator Cosponsored Bill as Part of Efforts to Support Growing Tech Sector, Advance Implementation of Precision Agriculture

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today issued the following statement after the Senate passed the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act, bipartisan legislation he cosponsored to improve the accuracy of the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) broadband mapping. Specifically, the bill would:

  • Make the data more granular.
  • Include more state, local and tribal government data.
  • Establish a challenge process to ensure the accuracy of data provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
  • Allow the public to provide information about the availability of broadband.

Hoeven previously led the state’s congressional delegation in urging FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to advance similar reforms. The senator also raised this issue during a roundtable with Pai in North Dakota this September.

“If our nation is going to continue to lead in technology development, then we need robust infrastructure like broadband to handle the demands of this data-intensive industry,” said Hoeven. “Improving the FCC’s maps will help prevent gaps in access to quality broadband services. That will be important as we continue to build out this infrastructure across North Dakota, including in rural areas to support the adoption of precision agriculture.” 

Rural Broadband & Precision Agriculture

This legislation comes as part of Hoeven’s efforts as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee to advance the deployment of rural broadband, which will support the state’s technology sector, the third wave in its economic growth, as well as the implementation of precision agriculture. To this end, Hoeven has secured more than $1.6 billion across fiscal years 2018-2020 for the ReConnect Program, a rural broadband loan and grant pilot program.

Further, Hoeven cosponsored the Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act, which passed as part of the 2018 Farm Bill. The legislation helps ensure adequate broadband connectivity in rural areas on farm and ranchland to support the adoption of precision agriculture. Last month, the senator announced that Seth Arndorfer, CEO of the Dakota Carrier Network, was appointed as a member of the task force created under this legislation.

The senator also supported efforts to improve the FCC’s High-Cost Program under the Universal Service Fund (USF) and has worked with Pai to ensure the program is fully funded. The FCC announced earlier this year that it would provide nearly $600 million in USF funds to North Dakota over the next decade to expand broadband.