Data & Mapping

New Broadband Maps Are Coming. They’ll Be Useless Unless We Also Invest in Research and Analytical Capacity.

New, more accurate and detailed broadband maps are on their way. The telecom policy crowd fervently hopes the data upgrade will help us better address digital divides and other issues. But maps and data alone won’t solve anything. Skill, expertise and time will all be required to study and use the new maps, and the resources required grow as the datasets become larger and more complex.

Broadband Costs Too Much

The Open Technology Institute's latest study of the price of internet service, The Cost of Connectivity 2020, finds substantial evidence of an affordability crisis in the United States. From service plans that meet the current Federal Communications Commission definition for broadband at 25/3 Mbps to bigger, bolder standards, U.S. consumers pay more for monthly internet prices on average than European consumers based on advertised metrics. And, perhaps just as importantly, U.S.

Bridging the digital divide through digital equity offices

The American economy continues to digitalize at an astounding pace, but tens of millions of American households cannot access the digital economy due to physical gaps in local broadband networks, unaffordable subscription plans and personal devices, and a lack of digital skills. Digital equity offices would aim to address these structural barriers and ensure the digital economy reaches all local households.

Committee Approves Bills, Nominations

The Senate Commerce Committee approved a number of bills and nominations including the following:

The American Federal Definition of Broadband Is Both Useless and Harmful

Definitions matter. Especially when those definitions come from the federal government. In the case of “broadband,” the definition set by the federal government creates our standard of Internet living. Depressingly, the American government’s definition means broadband providers get away with offering very poor levels of “broadband.” Today, that metric is 25 megabits per second download (25 Mbps) and three megabits per second (3 Mbps) upload.

Georgia Broadband Deployment Initiative Successfully Utilizes Data for Effective Decision Making

On June 30, the issues of our statewide digital divide were illustrated with the release of the Georgia Broadband Availability map. This mapping initiative is a key component of our strategic purpose. Our ongoing partnership with the Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) and Carl Vinson Institute of Government affords us the opportunity to illustrate statewide challenges to internet access and provide key stakeholders a tool with enhanced precision to make data-driven decisions. This tool, the first of its kind, reflects more than 5 million locations in all 159 counties.

FCC Improves Broadband Data and Maps to Bridge the Digital Divide

The Federal Communications Commission adopted new rules for the improved collection and mapping of broadband availability data through the Digital Opportunity Data Collection that will better identify connectivity gaps across the country and help advance the FCC’s ongoing efforts to close the digital divide. The FCC is also seeking comment on proposals to ensure the accuracy of the new broadband coverage maps by creating multiple paths for consumers, along with state, local, and Tribal governments and other entities, to provide feedback on the maps directly to the FCC.

National Broadband Availability Map Reaches 20-State Milestone

NTIA’s National Broadband Availability Map (NBAM) reached a 20 state milestone with the addition of Wyoming and Washington State. The NBAM is a geographic information system platform which allows for the visualization and analysis of federal, state, and commercially available data sets. This includes data from the Federal Communications Commission, US Census Bureau, Universal Service Administrative Company, US Department of Agriculture, Ookla, Measurement Lab, and the state governments.

Chairman Doyle: Broadband Providers Keep Claiming Service Where It Isn't

 House Communications Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) said that a lot of broadband internet access service providers, "for whatever reason," claim they have service where they don't, something he said everyone knows "has been going on for years." He said that since Democrats and Republicans agree that broadband maps aren't good, the Federal Communications Commission would just be throwing $20 million out the window by starting to give out most of the Rural Development Opportunities Fund (RDOF) subsidy money.

FCC to Hold Open Commission Meeting July 16, 2020

The Federal Communications Commission will hold an Open Meeting on Thursday, July 16, 2020. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and related agency telework and headquarters access policies, this meeting will be in a wholly electronic format and will be open to the public on the Internet via live feed from the FCC’s web page and on the FCC’s YouTube channel.