In order to promote meaningful broadband deployment and adoption programs, policymakers and experts must first know where service is strong, weak, or nonexistent. Currently broadband maps are created using provider reported Form 477 data. However, the Broadband DATA Act tasks the Federal Communications Commission with collecting large scale crowdsourced data to supplement the creation of new broadband maps.
On November 18, 2021, Next Century Cities’ Policy Counsel Ryan Johnston joined the Marconi Society for a discussion on the new FCC broadband mapping initiatives. The conversation centered around the existing availability of data collection tools and resources.
Johnston’s comments focused on communities without the resources to undertake large-scale broadband mapping efforts, largely due to financial constraints, limited capacity, or knowledge gaps. Johnston also noted that the Commission must provide necessary resources for the community when they request data from state and local governments to ensure that such data can be used to its full potential.
Johnston concluded that the Commission must engage community leaders at every step of the data collection and mapping process. Ensuring that these groups are consulted, and their concerns are met, is the only way to break the cycle of relying on provider submitted data.