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Speedy Updates Act: Bipartisan legislation aims to address broadband speed thresholds

(© Gajus –

One in four Virginians in rural areas lack access to high-speed internet, and we know that a portion of the rest who meet the current outdated threshold lack the ability to connect to cutting-edge internet services.

Seventh District Democrat Abigail Spanberger today reintroduced bipartisan legislation to ensure that new broadband networks are built to provide customers with sufficient upload and download speeds.

The Speedy Updates Act would help update broadband internet speed thresholds. A key is that the bill would require the Government Accountability Office to conduct an evaluation and write a report on the efficacy of the FCC’s existing process for establishing, reviewing, and updating its speed thresholds for broadband service.

The FCC’s 2019 Broadband Deployment Report is flawed in that it relies on a speed threshold established in 2015 to define whether an area can be said to have adequate broadband service.

The threshold is already outdated due to new and emerging internet technologies.

“As we focus on making historic investments in internet connectivity, we need to ensure the infrastructure we build will reflect the growing need for faster downloads and uploads. Even in areas of Virginia with existing broadband internet access, many homes and businesses are experiencing lags in their service when using the latest apps and programs — simply because technology is rapidly advancing,” said Spanberger, who joined South Dakota Congressman Dusty Johnson in introducing the Speedy Updates Act.

“My bipartisan legislation would review the FCC’s process for updating speed thresholds and help make future recommendations about how to keep up with these changes. With this additional information, we can make sure Central Virginia’s rural communities can both increase local internet access and take advantage of this progress for years to come.”

“As Congress makes record investments in broadband connectivity, we need to ensure our programs promote speeds that keep pace with today and tomorrow’s business speeds,” Johnson said. “The Speedy Updates Act of 2021 will make sure the FCC prioritizes speed in rural America.”

The bill was originally passed in the U.S. House last year as part of the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act, which she helped introduce in June 2020.

The legislation also included Spanberger’s priorities to provide once-in-a-generation funding toward strengthening broadband connectivity in Central Virginia’s rural and underserved areas, while also addressing digital inequities based on geography, race, and socioeconomic barriers.

Click here to read the full legislation.

augusta free press
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