Stressing the importance of “granular data that will inform our policies and propel us to the front of the broadband ranks,” Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel Inuoye (D-HI) introduced legislation with the backing of six Democratic co-sponsors that would require the FCC to reconsider its current threshold formula for determining which bandwidth rates qualify as broadband. Although the FCC reported earlier this year that broadband services are now available within 99% of U.S. zip codes, statistics published last month by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) rank the U.S. in fifteenth place worldwide in terms of national broadband penetration. (The U.S. held the fourth place ranking in 2000 and had dropped to twelfth place by 2006.) Inuoye’s bill, known as the Broadband Data Improvement Act, targets the FCC’s official definition of broadband (i.e., 200 Kbps in one direction), which was established in 1999 and which many industry players view as outdated. The legislation would require the FCC to revise the current 200 Kbps standard and to create a new measurement, known as second-generation broadband, that would assess the capability of networks to transmit high-definition video. Because experts have also criticized as misleading the FCC’s current method of measuring broadband penetration by five-digit zip code (and counting a zip code as “served” with the presence of a single broadband subscriber), the bill would also require the FCC to report broadband connections within smaller nine-digit zip code areas that provide a more accurate picture of broadband uptake. Declaring, “the first step in an improved broadband policy is ensuring that we have better data on which to build our efforts,” Inuoye observed that the measure, if passed, “can be used to craft policies that will increase the availability of affordable broadband services in all parts of the nation.”