President Trump’s FCC Is Using Junk Data to Downplay Broadband Woes

Coverage Type: 

You can't fix a problem you don’t understand, and it’s very clear that the Federal Communications Commission under Donald Trump doesn’t want to understand its failure to make affordable broadband available to all Americans. During a pandemic when Americans are forced to work, learn, and get their health care online, the FCC’s refusal to accurately measure US broadband connectivity gaps has quickly shifted from administrative farce to outright tragedy. The FCC’s 2020 Broadband Deployment Report, released last June, claims the number of Americans without access to broadband sits somewhere around 18.3 million. But third-party reports have suggested it’s closer to 42.8 million.

The FCC can’t fix America’s stubborn digital divide if it refuses to accurately measure the chasm in the first place. Accurate data must be the cornerstone of tackling America’s broadband access and affordability problem. Anything less risks basing life-and-death policy decisions on little more than empty promises and wishful thinking.

[Gigi Sohn is a distinguished fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy and the Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society]

Trump’s FCC Is Using Junk Data to Downplay Broadband Woes