Data & Mapping
On Feb 23, 2020, Sen Joe Manchin (D-WV) wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to urge him to "revise the aggressive timeline outline for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) and postpone the initial auction until after the eligibility maps can be challenged and verified." Sen Manchin also wrote Chairman Pai on Dec 3, 2019 to describe specific examples in West Virginia of unreliable broadband service.
To help illustrate some of the stark realities of what rural Americans are experiencing in the wake of this monumental health crisis, Center on Rural Innovation’s Mapping and Data Analytics team has created an interactive broadband map to better visualize and understand broadband availability across America’s school districts. The maps consider broadband to be internet service that:
On Jan 9, 2020, Sens Joe Manchin (D-WV), James Lankford (R-OK), Jon Tester (D-MT), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and John Kennedy (R-LA) wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to express reservations about the 5G Fund and the decision to focus limited mobile broadband deployment dollars on the promise of a 5G future when many places still lack 4G service or do not have any service at all.
This Public Notice serves as notice that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, in consultation with Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, has appointed Working Group members to serve on the Task Force for Reviewing the Connectivity and Technology Needs of Precision Agriculture in the United States (Precision Ag Connectivity Task Force or Task Force).
Broadband availability data should improve with the March 10 passage of the Broadband DATA Act. The legislation now just awaits President Donald Trump’s signature before becoming law. Key provisions of the bill include:
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai told a House Financial Services Subcommittee budget hearing that he could not provide a timeline for when the FCC could improve its broadband availability maps, in part because of a bill Congress just passed to require better mapping. Asked for a best-guess for when better maps could be produced, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel (who was also testifying) said she thought the FCC could improve its maps within 3-6 months and again argued the FCC should hold off on handing new rural broadband buildout subsidies — $16 billion worth and the
Limited federal data on broadband coverage has presented a hurdle for states as they try to do their part in erasing the digital divide in local communities. Despite the common observation that Form 477 data from the Federal Communications Commission doesn’t cut it, states have different approaches and different timelines when it comes to their cartographical solutions.
The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill, the Broadband DATA Act, aimed at improving the Federal Communications Commission’s data collection process for broadband mapping. Since the bill has already passed the Senate, but will return due to procedural reasons, we will likely see the Senate pass this bill soon and then send it to the President’s desk for a signature. The bill reflects bipartisan agreement that we need more accurate broadband maps, and Public Knowledge supports legislation to fix inaccurate mapping.
New Jersey ranks highest overall in the nation with 98% wired broadband coverage and 78% low-priced plan availability. Alaska ranks lowest overall, with 61% wired and fixed wireless broadband coverage and no low-priced (wired) plan availability. Despite being the 2nd largest state by population, Texas came in 8th overall for broadband availability and pricing. California, the largest state, came in 13th place. Affordable wired internet is most widely available in Rhode Island, where 89% of the population has access to a broadband plan $60 or under.
The House passed a new version of a bill meant to improve the accuracy of maps detailing where broadband is and isn't available in the US. The legislation is now on a fast track to the Senate, where it's expected to pass before going to President Donald Trump for signing. The bipartisan Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act was passed by the House late in 2019 as part of a broader package of legislation intended to improve the Federal Communications Commission's broadband maps. The Senate also passed a version of the bill.