Bipartisan Group Of 26 Senators Detail Expectations Regarding Broadband Availability Map Accuracy, Which Is Critical For States To Receive Fair Share Of Broadband Infrastructure Funding
WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), both members of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, led a bipartisan group of their colleagues in sending a letter to Jessica Rosenworcel, Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to ensure the FCC’s national broadband maps satisfy the goals of the Broadband DATA Act and provide an accurate and reliable depiction of broadband availability across the nation, which plays a major role in decisions about the distribution of broadband infrastructure funding.
“We have heard from constituents, state and local governments, and service providers alike of continuing concerns about the accuracy of the map, ranging from persistent issues with missing or incorrect serviceable locations to potentially overstated claims of coverage by providers,” the senators wrote. “To ensure the map can be used for decisions about where to direct tens of billions of dollars for broadband deployment, it is critical that these issues be examined and addressed in a systematic and thorough manner.”
“We recognize that these steps will require more work now in ensuring all serviceable locations are represented and in sorting through challenges as to the availability of service and to the underlying Fabric data,” the senators continued. “But these processes must not be short-cut or millions of Americans in need of broadband risk being short-changed.”
To ensure accountability and accuracy, the senators’ letter asks the FCC to:
- Work with stakeholders to make sure that all serviceable locations are represented on the map.
- Update the Fabric more than twice each year.
- Make sure that providers are held accountable for their reports if they are found to have overreported coverage.
- Ensure that its crowdsourcing process works effectively and promptly in response to parties filing robust testing data regarding the performance of services that are available.
Full text of the letter is available here:
Senator Rosen has been a strong advocate for expanding broadband access in Nevada. Earlier this month, during a hearing of the U.S. Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband, Senator Rosen raised concerns about the discrepancies in recent broadband maps released by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which overstate existing broadband coverage areas. She called on the FCC to fix this issue, noting that broadband funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is directly tied to these maps, and falsely overstating broadband coverage could negatively impact how much broadband infrastructure funding is allocated to rural Nevada.