By Ryan Johnston
Once the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) releases the new version of its Broadband DATA Act maps, it will be up to states, local and tribal governments, and individuals to ensure that actual broadband access matches what is reported. However, one important metric for measuring broadband that the Commission will not accept for the challenge process is speed-test data. This data is a critical indicator of whether or not customers are actually receiving broadband services.
To this end, Next Century Cities signed-on to the Broadband Connects America Coalition’s October 18th letter to the FCC’s Broadband Data Task Force. The letter highlights the lack of clarity surrounding consumer participation in the availability challenge process. The FCC’s failure to provide clear guidance could lead to roadblocks for consumers who attempt to provide evidence that they are not receiving adequate broadband service. Advertised speeds are irrelevant if delivered speeds fall short. As stated in the letter, the Commission should accept fixed connection speed test data to verify that consumers are receiving reported broadband speeds, or if their connections meet the definition of broadband at all.
If the Commission does not offer some guidance on how individuals can participate in the challenge process, it will eliminate key evidence that could increase the accuracy of the new broadband availability maps. Read the Broadband Connects America letter here.