State leaders step up broadband mapping efforts

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With the federal government slow to produce better maps of broadband internet coverage, state leaders are stepping up with their own efforts that they say will yield more granular information that leads to better decisions on the infrastructure buildout. Virginia became the latest state to unveil an effort to revamp its statewide broadband map in summer 2021, following Georgia's map launched in 2020. New York has proposed a similar effort but is stuck in legislative limbo, while most others rely on federal data for their existing state-level maps. This new state push comes with the Federal Communications Commission under fire for the inadequacy of its national maps. For state officials, putting together their own broadband maps with more granular data is most beneficial when distributing grant money to extend service to underserved or unserved areas. But while the new maps can help states better direct funds, there are concerns they still might be inadequate and lead to disparities in infrastructure, even as there is recognition that the current model isn’t working. Observers worry about a “patchwork” of data that is not nationally standardized.

The FCC Has Pledged to Update Its ‘Broken’ Broadband Mapping Process. Some States Are Starting to Go It Alone