Government Accountability Office

FCC is Taking Steps to Accurately Map Locations That Lack Access

To help close the digital divide, federal programs provide funding to support broadband deployment in unserved areas. According to the Federal Communications Commission, these programs rely on data the FCC collects from broadband providers to identify which areas are and are not served to target their limited funds. This report describes the FCC's progress in developing a location fabric and the challenges stakeholders identified that the FCC faces in doing so.

Broadband: FCC Should Analyze Small Business Speed

This report examines (1) small business access to broadband and how federal broadband funding programs may serve small businesses, and (2) the extent to which the Federal Communications Commission’s broadband speed benchmark meets the needs of small businesses. Much of the literature GAO reviewed suggests that FCC’s current broadband minimum benchmark speeds—25 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloading and 3 Mbps for uploading—are likely too slow to meet many small business speed needs. GAO is making one recommendation to FCC to solicit stakeholder input and analyze small business broadban

FCC Assisted in Hurricane Maria Network Restoration, but a Clarified Disaster Response Role and Enhanced Communication Are Needed

Federal agencies faced unprecedented challenges responding to 2017's Hurricane Maria, which caused extensive damage in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. We found unclear federal guidance on the Federal Communications Commission's role in disaster response, which could have contributed to confusion and delays.

FCC Has Implemented the Lifeline National Verifier but Should Improve Consumer Awareness and Experience

As of June 2020, the Federal Communications Commission required consumers nationwide to use the Lifeline National Verifier (Verifier), a centralized process and data system, to check their eligibility for Lifeline, the FCC program that provides discounts on phone and internet service for low-income Americans. The FCC created the Verifier with the stated goals of reducing fraud and costs and improving the consumer experience. But the FCC hasn't made people aware of the Verifier, or provided information tribal governments need to help people use it.