Delgado Urges Action on Rural Broadband on House Floor

October 18, 2019
Press Release
Delgado Discusses Field Hearing & Newly Introduced Broadband Speed Act & Community Broadband Mapping Act

WASHINGTON, DC—Following his Congressional Field Hearing on Rural Broadband, Representative Antonio Delgado (NY-19) introduced the Broadband Speed Act and the Community Broadband Mapping Act to address flawed broadband mapping practices and support communities working to challenge their “served” status. Rep. Delgado then spoke on the House floor urging Congress to address broadband needs in upstate New York and take action on his legislation. Below is a link to the video and transcript of his remarks. 

Click here to watch Rep. Delgado’s full remarks.

“Thank you. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to address an urgent crisis in our communities—access to rural broadband. 

“Over the district work period, I held a field hearing on Rural Broadband with FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks where NY-19 residents shared their stories about the need to improve rural broadband internet in upstate New York.

“The Commissioner heard from educators, health care providers, small business owners all impacted by this issue. 

“Following that hearing, I’ve introduced the Broadband Speed Act and the Community Broadband Mapping Act. This legislative package will address flawed broadband mapping practices that result in the FCC overcounting rural communities and require that projects funded with FCC money are ‘future proof’ or built to withstand changes in technology. 

“This legislation would also allow local governments, co-ops, community groups and small providers to access funding that would allow them to collect information on local broadband service in order to challenge a finding that they are, in fact, served. 

“I urge the House to take up this legislation and close the digital divide. I yield back the balance of my time.”

As representative of the third most rural Democratic-held district, and the eighth most rural district over all, Rep. Delgado has worked to making increase access to rural broadband a priority in Congress. As a member of the House Task Force on Rural Broadband, Rep. Delgado successfully amended House appropriations legislation to address broadband mapping practices. This legislative package builds on this amendment and is comprised of two bills that empower communities to improve flawed broadband mapping procedures. The first, the Broadband Speed Act, would require internet service providers to annually report data to the FCC that shows the actual speeds they are capable of providing, as opposed to what they can potentially provide within 7-10 business days. This will help demonstrate to the FCC where broadband service is actually matching the speeds being advertised, and where there are still gaps in service. It would also require that new FCC funding awards be built out at speeds of 100 mbps or higher to ensure that they are built to last. The second bill, the Community Broadband Mapping Act, would allow local governments, electric/telephone cooperatives, economic development/community groups and small internet providers to access USDA Rural Utility Service broadband programs for grant funding to make their own broadband maps, to challenge FCC data.