COMMISSIONER JESSICA ROSENWORCEL
Modernizing the FCC Form 477 Data Program
, WC Docket No. 11-10.
We cannot manage what we do not measure. The person who taught me this was the late Senator
Inouye. I had the privilege of working for him when he introduced the Broadband Data Improvement
Act. A copy of this law, which was later incorporated into the American Recovery and Reinvestment
Act, hangs on my office wall--complete with his signature.
The point of his truism is simple, but the reality is profound. If we want to tackle our nation's
challenges, we need good data to drive our policies.
To this end, the Broadband Data Improvement Act helped usher in a new era of more data-centric
broadband policy. It led to a grant program at the National Telecommunications and Information
Administration (NTIA) that in turn, led to a National Broadband Map. We can and should improve on the
information in this map. But without the basic data it provides, we would never have been able to pursue
major policy goals, like the reform of our universal service system to support broadband deployment.
As the NTIA's grant program nears completion, it is time to ensure that what we have built
becomes a foundation for good policy going forward. It is time for the FCC to take up NTIA's broadband
data collection efforts and continue to improve upon them.
For these reasons, I am pleased to support today's Report and Order. Although limited in scope,
it puts us on the path of securing continuity of the National Broadband Map by updating our Form 477 to
collect network deployment data for fixed and mobile broadband. It also takes measures to improve the
quality of our broadband and voice subscription data while reducing burdens on providers.
Going forward, I hope we will continue to consider further improvements to our data collection
efforts. Some of these have been teed up in our record, including the collection of pricing data--which I
acknowledge can be sensitive and complicated. Yet studies consistently demonstrate that roughly one-
third of Americans choose not to subscribe to broadband, citing lack of relevance, lack of digital literacy,
and lack of affordability. How can our policies ensure that Americans do not end up on the wrong side of
the digital divide without a better understanding of cost and affordability? Again, we cannot manage
what we do not measure. We cannot fix what we do not understand. So I look forward to further
discussion on these issues. Because with better broadband data, we can have better broadband policy.