Observations on Past and Ongoing Efforts to Expand Access and Improve Mapping Data

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The US Government Accountability Office was asked to examine the current state of broadband investment and deployment. This report examines (1) industry and federal investments to deploy broadband in the US since 2009, and (2) efforts federal agencies are making to address deployment challenges. GAO analyzed industry and federal government data from 2009 through 2017 or 2018 (the most recent year of available data) on broadband investments and deployment; reviewed statutes and regulations, rulemaking proceedings, and Federal Communications Commission, the Rural Utilities Service, and National Telecommunications and Information Administration program information; interviewed federal officials; and obtained information about deployment challenges from interviews with 32 industry, academic, and consumer stakeholders, including 16 broadband providers selected to represent a range of provider sizes and types of technologies. 

In prior work, GAO recommended that FCC improve its mapping data and RUS better manage its broadband programs. The agencies have addressed some, but not all, of the recommendations. FCC and RUS reviewed a draft of this report and provided technical comments. Continued communication and coordination on topics such as collecting and using improved data will be especially important in assuring that federal dollars are effectively targeted as agencies' efforts to improve mapping and target resources progress.

Broadband: Observations on Past and Ongoing Efforts to Expand Access and Improve Mapping Data