The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Nov. 18 published a new pre-production broadband service map that will be crucial in helping to decide where billions of dollars in Federal broadband assistance ends up being deployed.
Federal assistance is most often targeted to areas of the country that have no fixed broadband service at all, or are classified as “underserved” by providers.
The map covers the entire United States, and shows where service providers say they offer fixed and mobile broadband services. The latest version of the map shows services offered at specific locations – rather than prior mapping efforts which measured service availability at Census-block levels.
The commission’s announcement of the new map also kicks off a challenge process that the public can use to dispute the accuracy of the service map. The FCC said that the challenge process “will play a critical role in improving the accuracy of the map.”
“An accurate map is an important resource for targeting funding and other efforts to bring broadband to unserved and underserved communities,” the commission said.
“Today is an important milestone in our effort to help everyone, everywhere get specific information about what broadband options are available for their homes, and pinpointing places in the country where communities do not have the service they need,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.
“Our pre-production draft maps are a first step in a long-term effort to continuously improve our data as consumers, providers and others share information with us. By painting a more accurate picture of where broadband is and is not, local, state, and federal partners can better work together to ensure no one is left on the wrong side of the digital divide,” she said.
The map is available at broadbandmap.fcc.gov. The FCC advised members of the public to use the map to find data on fixed and mobile services available to them, and file challenges through the website if fixed internet services are not available at their locations, and if their locations are not included on the map.