Federal Communications Commission Urged to Guide Consumers on Map Challenge

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Broadband Connects America (BCA)—a coalition of diverse national, state-based, and local nonprofit organizations, as well as state agencies—asked the Federal Communication Commission for guidance on how consumers can challenge broadband created through the Broadband Data Collection Program. During the availability challenge process for the Broadband Data Collection maps, the FCC said consumers may file a challenge asserting that the “reported speed [is] not offered.” However, it is unclear how consumers can actively participate in this facet of the challenge process. Additionally, without data about the actual speeds that customers are receiving, it is impossible to know if their service meets even the current definition of broadband, let alone the speeds they need to meaningfully engage online. The point of the challenge process is not to punish broadband providers, but rather to get consumers connected. Where there is a challenge, the providers will have an opportunity to respond with their own evidence to the challenge. Given the FCC's definition of broadband and its goal of closing the digital divide, the BCA encourages the FCC to provide guidance to consumers about how best to demonstrate that the services they receive cannot meet the definition of broadband, which must accept actual speed data during the challenge process for fixed broadband.

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