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Broadband Roundup: Congress Considers Plans to Improve Mapping, AT&T Launches 5G Phone

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After wide bipartisan acknowledgement that broadband map currently being used by the Federal Communications Commission is wildly inaccurate, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., has introduced the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act, urging the FCC to halt decisions on broadband funding until more accurate data is available.

The bill will require the FCC to gather granular service availability data from wired, fixed wireless, and satellite broadband providers under strong parameters, as well as asking the FCC to consider collecting verified coverage data from other local governments and entities.

It will also create a process to allow consumers, state and tribal governments, and other groups to challenge FCC maps without an unreasonable burden.

The Broadband DATA Act is co-sponsored by Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Gary Peters, D-Mich., proving its bipartisan appeal.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai responded to the bill, which was introduced in an FCC oversight hearing, by announcing that he was already taking steps to improve the accuracy of the maps, such as requiring providers to report numbers below the census block level and incorporating other public feedback.

The Commission will vote on Pai’s proposed changes at its August meeting.

AT&T to launch first 5G phone

AT&T is launching its first phone to operate on a 5G network, the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, to business customers next Monday. The provider currently has a millimeter wave 5G network throughout 19 cities across the United States.

The 5G speeds will be capped at 2Gbps, although AT&T has suggested that this will be increased in the future.

The Galaxy S10 5G has been available on Verizon’s network since May and is expected to come to Sprint and T-Mobile in the near future as the major providers continue to fight for 5G dominance.

Reporter Emily McPhie is studying communication design and writing at Washington University in St. Louis. She is vice president of outreach for her school's chapter of the Roosevelt Network. Previously, she founded a coding camp for children in her community.

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