We have repeatedly shown you, both with data and anecdotally, that the internet is broken in the United States. We pay more for less and deal with a lot of nonsense. And a big reason is that the wolves guard the chicken coop. The FCC has relied on internet providers themselves to truthfully say which homes they cover, data that the FCC has not verified.
So if you think Internet access is important, do any like-minded person a favor: Type your address into the FCC’s hotly anticipated new broadband maps and see if ISPs are lying about offering coverage to your home. If so, hit the little “Availability Challenge” button and submit your proof.
Today the FCC finally put the first “pre-production” version of its new interactive broadband cards on the web, and they’re definitely better in one way – they no longer automatically assume you’re covered simply because there is a single house somewhere in your census have internet. (Yes, that’s really how it used to work.) Now you can see each individual address and press a button to challenge what ISPs report to the government.
Unfortunately, you’ll probably have to participate (and/or stink politically) here if you want this map to actually make sense. Because, as dedicated broadband reporters like Nicole Ferraro and Karl Bode have warned, the new cards still trust the ISPs to be truthful. Heck, the CEO of the company that built them for the FCC, CostQuest, admitted that they depend on “how well the broadband providers actually report.” And I think I can already see some inaccuracies in my block.
You also won’t find actual internet speeds on the map, just the maximum advertised speeds of each tier that an ISP claims to sell to your address.
Yet the new maps are something, and it’s intriguing to filter by a particular type or service speed and see gaps already. At the top of this post, you can see that even self-reported data shows that fiber has a long way to go.
The FCC recognizes that much more needs to be done and it needs your help. “While today marks an important milestone in the effort to create more detailed and accurate broadband maps, this work is far from over,” read part of a statement from FCC Chairman Jessica Rosenworcel. “Releasing this early version of the new maps is intended to kickstart an ongoing, iterative process where we consistently add new data to improve and refine the maps.”
This week, the FCC also released its latest broadband power label order. They come! I’ll have another short story on that soon.