Radio News: FCC broadband map is full of errors

Jan 10, 2023 11:40 pm

Jon Brodkin reports for Ars Technica that Nevada's Democrat senators claim that the Federal Communications Commission's new, more detailed broadband map unveiled in November is full of errors, overstating coverage. "Nevada’s Office of Science, Innovation, & Technology (OSIT) has found over 20,000 purported broadband-serviceable locations on the map that they believe overstate coverage. They also have found incorrect information on the quality of service available to some locations and in some cases, missing serviceable locations," Sens. Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto wrote in a letter to the FCC last week. The FCC's broadband map cost at least $44 million to produce, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The complaints about the map come from all over the country, with the newspaper reporting that the State of New York found 31,000 missing, unserved, or underserved locations. In Vermont, things are worse. "The map is missing or incorrectly lists the location of over 60,000 broadband-serviceable locations. The map also lists service availability levels far beyond what the state has found through its mapping and what we are hearing about from residents," said Vermont Community Broadband Board Executive Director Christine Hallquist said in a press release. The new map allows citizens to type in any address and find out broadband availability. But since there are so many reported errors, it is fairly useless. Both the FCC and Congress have rules requiring internet service providers to submit accurate data for the map. The FCC has a Jan. 13 deadline for consumers to challenge what is wrong about the map, but Rosen and Cortez Masto, the Nevada senators, want the FCC to "work with NTIA to extend the availability and location challenge process by an additional 60 days to give our state broadband office and others the time needed to verify and submit accurate data." Billions of dollars of broadband grants depend on the map, so hopefully the FCC can make corrections. Read the full story at Ars Technica.