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Manchin: Broadband mapping bill a good start, but more needs to be done

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) praised the passage of the Broadband DATA (Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability) Act (S. 1822) out of the Senate Commerce Committee but highlighted the need for provisions from his bill, the Map Improvement Act (S.1485), that provide funding and technical assistance to state and local governments.

Of the 89,004 local governments, 573 tribes, and 50 states that were automatically eligible to participate in the Mobility Fund Phase II (MF-II) Challenge Process, only 62 or .07% even had the resources they needed to start the process. Throughout the entire 8 month challenge window, only 21 entities – one of which was Senator Joe Manchin – successfully submitted valid challenges.

“Last year, I became the only member of congress to challenge a federal broadband coverage map when I participated in the MF-II challenge Process,” Manchin said. “While the challenge process had its flaws, it should be looked at the beginning of a new, collaborative mapping process that encourages people to participate. That’s why I was thrilled to see provisions from my bill included in Senator Wicker’s mapping bill that passed the Commerce Committee today.

“Specifically, I have long pressed the FCC to establish a user-friendly challenge process that would allow consumers and state and local governments to be a part of the mapping process, and I am pleased to report that this bill will set that process in motion. However, as someone who has actually gone through this process and knows first-hand what hurdles made this process so difficult in the first place, I know that a few workshops will not be enough to get our local officials engaged. They need real money and technical assistance to do the job right, and I’m committed to making sure they get it,”

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