Data & Mapping

FCC Commissioner Starks Remarks at NTCA Legislative and Policy Conference

This pandemic may define our generation, and the changes in our daily lives required by social distancing have highlighted the importance of broadband and the consequences of internet inequality. I’d like to discuss four points that I think are necessary to address the digital divide in rural America. First, the Federal Communications Commission must fund rural broadband with fixed maps. Second, to address rural connectivity we must incentivize providers to bring future-proof broadband to our communities. Third, we must hold auction winners accountable.

COVID-19 and the Distance Learning Gap

As schools across the country transition to distance learning due to the COVID-19 crisis, a new Connected Communities and Inclusive Growth (CCIG) report documents the extent of the distance learning gap in Los Angeles County. The distance learning gap refers to the gap between students living in households with high-speed Internet and a desktop or laptop computer, and those without these essential resources for effective distance learning. Among the key findings are:

AT&T gave FCC false broadband-coverage data in parts of 20 states

AT&T falsely reported to the Federal Communications Commission that it offers broadband in nearly 3,600 census blocks spread across parts of 20 states. AT&T disclosed the error to the FCC in a filing that provides "a list of census blocks AT&T previously reported as having broadband deployment at speeds of at least 25Mbps downstream/3 Mbps upstream that AT&T has removed from its Form 477 reports." The 78-page list includes nearly 3,600 blocks.

Improving access: FCC will provide better mapping of underserved areas

A new law requires the Federal Communications Commission to provide better, more accurate maps of broadband internet availability across the United States. The goal of the new law is to ensure federal funding for rural broadband internet service in areas that today lack this 21st century necessity — a need that has become all the more urgent amid the stay-at-home orders resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

FCC Seeks Comment on Charter Rural Digital Opportunity Eligible Areas Waiver

The Federal Communications Commission's Wireline Competition Bureau -- in coordination with the Rural Broadband Auctions Task Force and the Office of Economics and Analytics -- seeks comment on a petition filed by Charter Communications requesting waiver of the FCC’s census block eligibility criteria for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction in order to exclude from eligibility census blocks in New York in which Charter will deploy broadband service to satisfy its commitments to the state.

WC Docket Nos. 10-90, 19-126

US's digital divide 'is going to kill people' as Covid-19 exposes inequalities

The COVID-19 crisis is exposing how the cracks in the US’s creaking digital infrastructure are potentially putting lives at risk, exclusive research shows. With most of the country on lockdown and millions relying on the internet for work, healthcare, education and shopping, research by M-Lab, an open source project which monitors global internet performance, showed that internet service slowed across the country after the lockdown. “This is going to kill people,” said Sascha Meinrath, a professor at Penn State University and co-founder of M-Lab.

Unequal access to high-speed internet could be the biggest obstacle to getting the American economy back on track

As unemployment claims reach record highs, Americans' unequal access to high-speed internet could become a roadblock to recovery. Even before the age of coronavirus, there's evidence that the availability of high-speed internet directly affects employment. At least six studies spanning two decades show a cause-and-effect relationship: Where broadband is deployed, businesses adopt more efficient practices, introduce new services, and can reach new labor pools and customers.

CCA statement on the FCC's “Working Toward the 5G Fund for Rural America: Option A Eligibility Analysis”

Unfortunately, the FCC is publishing eligibility maps that bear little relationship to where there is or is not actually coverage. The analysis itself notes that the maps released April 9 may bear little resemblance to the areas actually available for funding in an auction, which is extremely concerning. At a time when everyone is recognizing the importance of bridging the digital divide, the FCC seems intent on moving forward with spending $9 billion without bothering to measure the scope of the problem they are purporting to solve.

Broadband is More Important Than Ever

Broadband is more important than ever, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration has been working to expand access and increase connectivity for all Americans. We recently provided a one-year update to the American Broadband Initiative (ABI), the Trump Administration’s government-wide approach to connectivity challenges. Five new states – Nebraska, New Mexico, Michigan, Missouri, and Virginia – have joined the initial eight states participating in our National Broadband Availability Map.

OpenVault: COVID-19 Broadband Usage "Reaching A Plateau"

Broadband consumption is showing indications of reaching a plateau in markets that have been “quarantined” against the coronavirus pandemic, according to the most recent data analyzed by OpenVault. Following three weeks of double-digit percentage growth, the total downstream data usage in those markets with shelter-at-home policies declined 5.80% during the week of March 30–April 3 when compared to the previous week. While total upstream usage continued to grow during the March 30–April 3 timeframe, the increase over the previous week was only 2.3%.