FCC Circulating Update to Broadband Data Collection Program

A proposed order will enhance auditing and verification, the agency said.

FCC Circulating Update to Broadband Data Collection Program
Homepage of FCC National Broadband Map

WASHINGTON, May 22, 2024 – The Federal Communications Commission announced on Wednesday commissioners were reviewing an order that would update the agency’s broadband data collection and verification processes.

The text of the order has not been published, but the agency said in a release that the order “strengthens agency audit procedures,” “better accounts for changes in network deployments over time,” and “proposes modifications to data collection requirements based upon lessons learned, as well as enhancements to agency data validation processes” to improve the accuracy of its broadband coverage map.

The FCC is required by the 2020 Broadband DATA Act to maintain that map, which is composed of data on every home and business where broadband could be installed and what internet services they have access to, and to update it with provider-reported data twice annually. The fourth version was released yesterday on May 21.

The agency also accepts challenges to that data, which officials say is continuously improving the map’s accuracy. State-level funding allocations for the $42.5-billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program were based on the FCC’s map, but states are fielding their own data challenges before awarding grants.

Commenters have been meeting with agency staff to voice continued concerns of providers exaggerating coverage data. NTCA, a trade group representing small and rural broadband providers, went to the commission twice this month to ask the agency to take more steps to verify that ISPs can serve all the homes and businesses they claim to and to take enforcement actions against companies that repeatedly overreport coverage. 

One mobile provider said the process for challenging locations in bulk is “broken” and needs to be more user-friendly.

Popular Tags