RCRC: Rural Broadband Update

Rural Broadband Update

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.

2 thoughts on “RCRC: Rural Broadband Update

  1. Pieter van Leeuwen (@pedro_deleon54) August 23, 2019 / 8:57 pm

    What is the definition of “basic” ?
    Does that mean fixed or mobile? Either or both?

    Don’t ALL homes have access to satellite broadband, at a minimum?
    (Apartment units excepted)

    Lets say fixed only.
    Then most subscribers to fixed broadband also use routers.
    Because they have laptops or multiple users or multiple devices.
    So, how can the details of these access points not be known?

    Can’t physical location of router MAC addresses be determined via geolocation?
    Then systematically ping them all (hire a robocaller!), and collect their associated GPS coordinates and speed.
    Then compare the presence of pinged addresses against local populations, by a small enough geo unit.
    Perhaps a topographic unit.
    Figure out which topo units have people but no pinged routers/MAC addresses.
    And which have high densities of addresses relative to population.
    Any modest ratio tells you availability.

    Not a telecom engineer, but what isn’t feasible here?

    OR … my pet peeve …. real estate agents usually list properties with all of the schools serving them.
    In this day and age, why don’t they do that for broadband providers also, specific to the listed home? Unfathomable to me.
    If they did, then just collect the data from MLS.


    • Russ Steele August 23, 2019 / 9:57 pm

      Pieter some interesting ideas. I agree with your pet peeve. I will be willing to bet a small dinner at a drive-up window that Google knows where every house is that has broadband and at what speeds. All the houses not on Google list do not have broadband. Question is how to tap the Google data?


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