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NSPS succeeds in adding 'geospatial analysis' to precision agriculture bill

Thursday, July 19, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Amber Carpenter
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NSPS News and Views 7/18/18

NSPS scored a legislative victory last week in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The markup hearing favorably reported H.R. 4881, the "Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act of 2018." The bill requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish a task force for meeting connectivity and technology needs of precision agriculture in the United States.

The task force's duties include: (1) identifying and measuring current gaps in broadband Internet access service coverage of cropland and ranchland; (2) assembling a comprehensive guide of all federal programs and resources working to expand broadband Internet access service on unserved cropland and ranchland; and (3) developing policy recommendations to promote the rapid, expanded deployment of fixed and mobile broadband Internet access service on unserved cropland and ranchland.

The task force can be viewed as akin to the Technical Mapping Advisor Council ("TMAC") that advises the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on flood mapping, but this task force will focus on precision agricultural and rural broadband coverage and infrastructure deployment. The bill's lead sponsor, Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) included a provision that can includes geospatial involvement in the task force. The managers amendment included the provision to include "representatives with relevant expertise in broadband network data collection, geospatial analysis, and coverage mapping;...". Speaking on behalf of the bill and managers amendment were the bill sponsors: Bob Latta (R-OH) and Dave Loebsack (D-IA), as well as Buddy Carter (R-GA).

For view the discussion on this bill and the amendment to include "geospatial analysis", then watch segment 4:07:45-4:15:00.

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