New FCC Broadband Map Crowdsources Regulation of Broadband Availability

This week the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released its new broadband availability maps to cheers from the larger telecom industry. With this new set of FCC maps, a huge win for businesses and consumers seeking better broadband to have more of a say in accurate representation of broadband availability, individuals and organizations will be allowed to submit “location challenges” to ISPs if they discover spots on the map that do not meet the claimed broadband availability.

Senior Editor of Fierce Telecom, Diana Goovaerts, breaks down the news, why it has her excited, and puts into context the announcement in the scheme of the FCC’s future plans.

Diana’s Thoughts

“This week the FCC just put out its brand-new broadband map. This is really exciting, there are a couple things that are special about the map. First, it has a lot more granular data than any of the other 477 data that was previously collected to ascertain broadband coverage.

Second, the map that was just released to the public will allow the public, like consumers, governments, schools, libraries, anybody who’s interested to challenge both the locations that are listed on the map, so if there’s one missing, if there’s one put in the wrong spot, you can correct that, and also, you can challenge the service that’s listed. So, if they say you can get a gig, but you call to sign up for the gig, and they said, ‘oh no, we can only give you a hundred megabits per second.’ You can challenge that and tell the FCC that’s not right.

So, what this means for ISPs is that over the next couple months, there are going to be tons of challenges filed on this map, and the ISPs are going to have to either concede to those challenges, say ‘yes, they’re right,’ and change it. Or, they’re going to have to rebut them and work with the consumer or whoever submitted the challenge, and work it out.

And if they can’t work it out, then the FCC has to step in and decide. So that’s going to be a really interesting process that plays out over the next couple months, and at the end of all of that, the second draft of the maps are going to come out and then the NTIA is going to use those maps to dish out $42.5 billion in funding for broadband deployment.

So, there is a lot going on and it’s really exciting! I’m looking forward to keeping track of all of it.”

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