FCC Releases New National Broadband Maps & FCC Speed Test App
At long last, the FCC has released the first public version of its National Broadband Map. The new map is consequential as it will inform how many millions or billions of dollars each state and territory gets from the federal government for broadband infrastructure.
The broadband map’s release follows an effort that began in September to give Internet service providers (ISPs) and local governments an opportunity to review and challenge broadband data findings. That followed an initial FCC broadband data collection process that began in June. IEEE Techblog summarized that and more in this post.
“Today is an important milestone in our effort to help everyone, everywhere get specific information about what broadband options are available for their homes, and pinpointing places in the country where communities do not have the service they need,” said Chairwoman Rosenworcel. “Our pre-production draft maps are a first step in a long-term effort to continuously improve our data as consumers, providers and others share information with us. By painting a more accurate picture of where broadband is and is not, local, state, and federal partners can better work together to ensure no one is left on the wrong side of the digital divide.”
The public will be able to view the maps at broadbandmap.fcc.gov and search for their address to see information about the fixed and mobile services that internet providers report are available there. If the fixed internet services shown are not available at the user’s location, they may file a challenge with the FCC directly through the map interface to correct the information.
Map users will also be able correct information about their location and add their location to the map if it is missing. The draft map will also allow users to view the mobile wireless coverage reported by cellular service providers.
The FCC also announced the launch of an updated version of the FCC Speed Test App that will enable users to quickly compare the performance and coverage of their mobile networks to that reported by their provider. The app allows users to submit their mobile speed test data in support of a challenge to a wireless service provider’s claimed coverage.
Today’s debut marks the start of the public’s ability to offer challenges as well. The FCC has asked for challenges to the map data to be submitted between now and January 13, 2023, so that corrections can be included in a finalized version of the map.
The final version of the map will be used to distribute funding from the Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program in summer 2023. As determined by the Department of Commerce last year, each state will get an initial $100 million from the $42.5 billion BEAD program, with additional funding to be distributed based on the number of unserved and underserved locations, according to the new national broadband map.
Members of the public, along with local governments and providers, will now be able to submit two different types of challenges: location (for example, incorrect location address, incorrect location unit count, etc.) and availability (for example, if the map incorrectly lists a certain provider or broadband technology as available).
While the FCC will continue collecting crowdsourced speed data for fixed speeds, that data is not part of the challenge process. Rather, the map is relying on maximum available advertised speeds.
Additional information sources:
- New users can download the FCC Speed Test App in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
- Existing app users should update the app to gain these new features.
- A video tutorial and more information on how to submit challenges is available at fcc.gov/BroadbandData/consumers.
- For more information about the BDC, please visit the Broadband Data Collection website at fcc.gov/BroadbandData.
3 thoughts on “FCC Releases New National Broadband Maps & FCC Speed Test App”
Went to https://broadbandmap.fcc.gov/home and submitted the form for ISPs serving my address. The result shows a wireless provider claiming it serves my address.
When I tried to install that fixed wireless service a couple of months ago, it simply didn’t work. I suspect it was due to the buildings in my area blocking the signals. These buildings were recently constructed and might not have been there when the system was designed.
It looks like my complaint doesn’t justify the FCC changing the map. This is their reply to my submission.
“Thank you for submitting an Availability Challenge to the information shown on the FCC’s Broadband Map at https://broadbandmap.fcc.gov/. After carefully reviewing your submission, the FCC has determined that it does not meet the criteria for an official challenge of the broadband availability data shown on the map.
Your submission appears to be about a billing, speed, or quality of service issue and can be submitted through the FCC’s informal consumer complaint process. To file a complaint, use the form at the following URL: https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us/requests/new?ticket_form_id=38824
The FCC’s informal consumer complaint process is an effective way for you to raise this issue with your provider. If your complaint is served on your provider, the provider is required to respond to you in writing within 30 days with a copy to the FCC. For more information about the FCC’s consumer complaint process and how to file a complaint, visit our Consumer Complaint Center at https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/.”
My response to the FCC is,
“The informal consumer complaint process is not an effective way to raise this with the provider, as they aren’t my provider. They aren’t my provider, as they could not offer service. Therefore, they shouldn’t be listed as an option at my address and the FCC map should be adjusted to reflect that reality.”
FCC Maps Inaccurate on Anchor Institutions
The Federal Communications Commission’s new broadband maps inaccurately flag all community anchor institutions as non-broadband serviceable locations, according to the Schools, Health, and Libraries Broadband Coalition in an ex-parte letter filed to the FCC on Monday.
According to an FCC website about the map, the agency’s broadband collection “only gathers information on the availability of mass-market broadband internet access service. The Commission has decided that because community anchor institutions generally subscribe to non-mass-market, enterprise-grade services, they would not be identified as BSLs in the initial version of the Fabric.”
But in a meeting with the FCC on November 22, the contents of which are captured in a post-meeting letter, SHLB told the commission that small-scale community institutions – which can include health care facilities, museums, fire stations, K-12 public schools, law enforcement facilities and public libraries – often purchase broadband services from incumbent providers.
If these institutions are not reflected in the map as a result, SHLB said it is concerned that providers will not report on the availability of these services in these locations despite subscription to their service. That could compromise future considerations for these institutions to receive federal broadband funding, according to SHLB.
“We understand that a CAI can challenge an individual location on the current version of the Broadband Map,” SHLB said in the letter. “But the challenge process does not allow a CAI to change its BSL Flag field to ‘True.’ The current location challenge process for a non-BSL location only allows the challenger the ability to change the building type to something other than a CAI (such as a residence or business).
“This process does not explicitly create a separate category for CAIs that subscribe to mass-market services, and will be confusing or misleading for many CAIs, as well as for anyone attempting to track broadband availability at CAI locations.”
SHLB is recommending the FCC’s next version of the fabric – the data underlying the maps – to include these institutions as BSL’s by default, “with the ability to flag locations that subscribe to enterprise services as non-BSL.”
Source: Broadband Breakfast