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US broadband gaps are twice as bad as the government claims

2020-02-07 18:35 by
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The Federal Communications Commission's broadband data dramatically underestimates the number of Americans without access to home Internet service, a new study has found. It turned out that the actual number of people lacking home-broadband access is about twice as high as the FCC estimate.

The report was conducted by BroadbandNow, a company that helps consumers check their area for broadband availability. They manually checked availability at more than 11,000 addresses using FCC Form 477 data and they estimate that the true number of unconnected people actually stands at 42.8 million. In its 2019 report, the FCC estimated only 21.3 million Americans lacked broadband access.

The primary reason for the disparity between the reports is a flaw in FCC Form 477 reporting, according to BroadbandNow. The company states that if an ISP offers service to at least one household in a census block, then the Federal Communications Commission counts that entire block as being covered by that provider. Manually checking internet availability for each address therefore results in a more accurate estimation of broadband connections.

The FCC agency recently voted to collect more precise data by asking providers to submit maps showing exactly which areas they serve within census blocks.

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