Senator Daniel Inouye (D – Hawaii) has introduced the Broadband Data Improvement Act  which, if passed is designed to direct the FCC to provide a higher baseline for what it measures as broadband.

The bill also addresses how the FCC gathers data on broadband coverage in the a given  area. According to the Ars Technica article:

Under current practice, if a single address in a ZIP code can receive high-speed access, the entire ZIP code is counted as “served.” The new bill would require far more granular reporting by making carriers report data at the ZIP+4 level. The FCC would have to produce reports that show all geographical areas “not served by any provider of advanced telecommunications capability,” and that map would look substantially different from the current, ZIP-code based one.

The bill also provides $40 million per year through 2012 to states to improve their broadband coverage data gathering and mapping.

Apparently much of the bill was inspired by the success of the Connect Kentucky program. The current regional working group on broadband for Del Norte, Humboldt , Trinity and Mendocino counties is also using Connect Kentucky for some of its modeling on developing just such a project. The  timing of all this movement in the Federal government couldn’t come at a better time as the state and the region gear up for a major push to bring broadband connection and deployment up to speed (sorry) for rural areas.