A USTelecom pilot test found 38 percent of rural areas in census blocks depicted to have broadband on the National Broadband Map lack access to a basic internet connection. The organization conducted the test following allegations that the broadband map drastically overestimated broadband availability in rural America. The pilot test focused on Virginia and Missouri, but the study is sure to inspire calls for a nationwide test of broadband data.
The pilot test from USTelecom provides further evidence that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has relied on inaccurate data to measure broadband connectivity in rural areas. Inaccurate mapping data prevents policymakers from prioritizing funds for areas that are truly most lacking in high-speed internet. More reliable coverage data would help the FCC and other agencies properly devote public votes towards closing the digital divide for underserved rural areas.