National Broadband Map Update, 8.3 Million Still Lack Access

Randy Sukow

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The FCC yesterday updated its National Broadband Map. First introduced in November 2022 in what the FCC and others admitted was a preliminary form, the Commission set up a challenge process so that consumers, state governments, businesses and other third parties could point to inaccuracies and help to refine the map. Current map data estimates the number of unserved homes and businesses nationwide at 8.3 million.

“The map we are releasing today reflects these challenges, as well as other improvements to the data we have been making since we launched our first public effort last year. It has a lot of updated information about both locations and availability,” Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a blog post. Rosenworcel said that the FCC identified 330,000 additional unserved locations since last November through the challenge process.

The map is significant because the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is using it as a tool to distribute funding to the states in the $42 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Development (BEAD) Program. NTIA has indicated that it will begin announcing BEAD allocations by June 30.

The FCC’s Broadband Data Collection (BDC) gathers broadband location-based data from internet providers twice a year (March 1 and Sept. 1) and will continue the challenge process for further updates. “We are going to continue to release a major update twice a year, which overlays availability data from providers onto the tens of millions of serviceable locations. In addition to those major bi-annual updates, we have been making minor updates to the availability data in the map regularly for most of 2023,” Rosenworcel said.

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