FCC Unveils Broadband Map

Commissioners will get a demonstration of a new National Broadband Map at the agency’s monthly meeting today. It revives an Obama-era tool that tracks internet speeds across the country, as John reported last week. Even though the map is limited to fixed broadband, and doesn’t include mobile coverage, it’s envisioned as a “key resource … for consumers, policymakers, researchers, economists and others,” according to the FCC.

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech

Let’s hope these new maps more accurate than the old maps. Pot and Pans have listed reasons the old maps were not accurate in an article titled: Regulating From Broadband Maps

One of the more bizarre things we do in the US is regulate broadband based upon broadband maps. There are numerous federal grant and subsidy programs that rely upon these maps (and the underlying databases that support them) as well as various state programs. The FCC also uses this same data when reporting broadband penetration in the country to Congress each year, as just occurred on February 9.

The maps are intended to show how many households can purchase broadband of various speeds. Currently the arbitrary speed thresholds tested are download speeds of 10 Mbps, 25 Mbps and 100 Mbps. These speeds are measured due to past decisions by the FCC. For example, the FCC chose a 10/1 Mbps speed goal for any company that accepted CAF II money to upgrade rural broadband. The FCC’s current definition of broadband is still set at 25/3 Mbps.

Anybody that understands broadband networks knows that much of the data included in the databases and the mapping is incorrect, and sometimes pure fantasy. That makes sense when you understand that the speeds in this mapping process are all self-reported by ISPs.

There are numerous reasons why the speeds in these databases are not an accurate reflection of the real world:

Pots and Pans list of broadband mapping problems is HERE.




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