FCC Responds to Senators’ Call for More Accurate Broadband Maps

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In an April letter, a group of U.S. Senators reminded the Commission that Congress had enacted the Broadband DATA Act almost a year ago to improve what have been inaccurate and incomplete broadband maps. Unfortunately, it pointed out, the “previous administration took little action toward fulfilling its congressional mandate to update” these “flawed” maps.

The Senators’ letter called for a “comprehensive, precise, granular nationwide broadband data map…to help policymakers determine where to invest tax dollars.” It also urged the incorporation of “state, local and tribal governments and (to) provide them with an opportunity to meaningfully challenge the data filed by internet service providers (ISPs).”

In a May letter of response, Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel agreed “that state, local and Tribal governments have a substantial role to play in the evolving broadband data collection effort.” The FCC, she said, would “empower” these entities “to verify and challenge the accuracy of the maps by sharing state and local data with the (Commission).”

The Acting Chairwoman also made it clear the FCC was now actively involved with a number of state and other government entities about categories and types of information collected, “including the sources, methodologies, and level of granularity associated with the data.”

It sounds as if this Commission is serious about developing the kind of broadband mapping that will put resources where they are most needed and help close the Digital Divide.