Microsoft: FCC's broadband coverage maps are way off2019-04-09 17:17 by Daniela
Tags: FCC, broadband, Microsoft
Tech giant Microsoft insists that the FCC's claims over broadband adoption are highly exaggerated. The FCC's current 2018 Broadband Deployment Report indicates that "over 24 million Americans still lack fixed terrestrial broadband at speeds of 25Mbps/3Mbps". The FCC estimates that "92.3 percent of all Americans have access to fixed terrestrial broadband at speeds of 25Mbps/3Mbps".
The FCC builds its coverage map, using data that internet service providers report twice a year via what's called Form 477. Microsoft contends the percentage of Americans who lack access to broadband at 25Mbps/3Mbps speeds is "much higher" than the FCC's estimates. Rather than 24 million people without broadband, Microsoft's research indicates "162.8 million people are not using the internet at broadband speeds".
"The FCC data is based on census blocks, the smallest unit used by the US Census Bureau - though in rural areas, these blocks can be quite large," John Kahan, chief data analytics officer at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post. "If broadband access is delivered to a single customer in that block, the entire block is counted as having service."
After reviewing the FCC's data, Microsoft settled on three recommendations which it shared with the Commerce Committee. They include changing wording on the Form 477 to be more clear, requiring availability and usage/subscription data to be used when guiding future investment, and fixing the methodology behind data collection and reporting prior to new broadband mapping reports being released.
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