The FCC takes a major step toward a more accurate map of US broadband availability

NTIA Broadband Map from Feb 2022
(Image credit: Chris Wedel / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • FCC plans to create a more accurate broadband map of the U.S.
  • The body has collected vital information from major ISPs in all 50 states and additional territories.
  • The FCC plans to release the first draft by November 2022.

Early last week, the FCC Chairwoman, Jessica Rosenworcel, announced a significant step towards better broadband in the U.S. This is thanks to the effort to collect data from broadband providers in every state and territory in the U.S. The aim is to precisely know in which areas or part of the regions the broadband network is available and where it's not.

The FCC opened this data collection window on June 30 as part of an effort to build more accurate broadband maps that are long overdue. Following the collection period, Rosenworcel explains what to expect in the near future.

According to Rosenworcel, the FCC reached out to ISPs in all 50 states and territories to gather the necessary data, including tribal entities and ISPs.

Rosenworcel says that the data has now been submitted and that the FCC has, for the first time, "collected extensive location-by-location data on precisely where broadband services are available." The next step is evidently to use this information to develop new and improved broadband maps, Rosenworcel further states in the release.

The FCC is targeting November 2022 to release a first draft of the updated broadband map, meaning we shouldn't have very long to get a better picture of just how bad things are in the United States.

For its next steps, the FCC is planning to launch a "Fabric challenge process" that will begin soon. This is a data set of the locations where broadband should be available and will allow ISPs to challenge the data provided.

Again, the primary purpose of this process is to create the first draft that can give a more accurate picture of broadband availability in the U.S. than the current maps. However, the process will be ongoing as Rosenworcel believes the maps should be "updated, refined and improved over time." That's due to broadband providers constantly updating and expanding their networks.

U.S. broadband has notably lagged in terms of both speed and availability, something providers like T-Mobile have tried to address. Yet, despite the efforts made by some providers and the FCC, many Americans are still left with slow, expensive, or non-existent internet service. This new map will allow the FCC to target areas that need to be addressed.

Once the new map is released, the FCC will open it to the public so consumers can give feedback to further refine the data received from the ISPs.

Vishnu Sarangapurkar
News Writer

Vishnu works as a freelance News Writer for Android Central. For the past four years, he's been writing about consumer technology, primarily involving smartphones, laptops, and every other gizmo connected to the Internet. When he is away from keyboard, you can see him going on a long drive or chilling on a couch binge-watching some crime series.