The Senate has passed the Broadband Data Improvement Act, a bill that unlike many others should do exactly what its title says.

The quality of data the government collects on broadband service has long been derided as insufficient, which is problematic because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) often makes policy determinations based on it.

For example, the Commission currently defines broadband as any service operating at transmission rates as low as 200 kbps, a rate far lower than what the industry and consumers consider qualifies as broadband.

Also, the agency assumes that if a single person in a zip code receives service from any given broadband supplier, then all residents of that zip could, an assumption frequently proven untrue.

The new bill will lead to the development of better metrics and more accurate data.

The House of Representatives passed a similar bill last year. The House and Senate bills contain a few dissimilarities and will still have to be squared before the measures contained in either or both become law.

NCTA President and CEO Kyle McSlarrow said: “We applaud the Congress for approving this important legislation, which will enable policymakers to have a much clearer picture about the state of broadband in America. Improved data about the availability and speed of all broadband offerings will help accomplish the important goal of universal broadband for all Americans. As the largest broadband provider in America, our industry will continue to support efforts designed to spur broadband adoption and access in those areas where it currently doesn’t exist.”

More Broadband Direct:

• Senate passes broadband data bill

• Charter moves on debt; a director resigns

• AT&T broadens rollout of whole-home DVR service

• Study: Customers would rather get bundle from telecoms

• Report: Europe seeing strongest broadband growth

• Motorola to demo new products at WiMAX World

• Research: Online video viewing has doubled in past year

• Notebook PCs go mobile broadband

• 1st phase of Trans-Pacific Express cable system ready to go

• Survey: Urgent need for common information models

• Broadband Briefs for 9/30/08