The update contains the most detailed information from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) the FCC has ever collected. Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced in September that the agency spent 18 months meeting with ISPs, legislators, tribal entities and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to obtain location-by-location data related to geographic broadband availability. The goal of this extensive investigation was to finally review the FCC’s broadband map, which the agency introduced in 2020 following the passage of the Broadband DATA Act.
While it’s by no means perfect, the updated map provides much more detailed location information than the previous iteration, which relied solely on census block data. Users can Search their home or business address to see which landline and mobile carriers serve that area. The resulting ISP list shows the alleged upload and download speeds of a particular provider. If a user notices a discrepancy between what’s on the card and what’s actually available, they can challenge that list item — a tricky but vital step that the FCC says is essential to creating a usable card.
The FCC’s map update comes just days after the release of a first of its kind ISP study, revealing the widespread and common pricing, reliability, and anti-competitive blunders of providers. Given the growing awareness of ISPs’ exploitative practices, the FCC is working to give power back to consumers using a number of tools. The map is one of them; so are the FCC’s new “broadband power labels.” Require ISPs to disclose prices, speeds, data limits, whether it participates in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), and more in an easily digestible way. Users can even try an updated version of the FCC Speed Test app to quickly compare speeds reported by ISPs against their actual internet speeds.
“Today is an important milestone in our effort to help everyone, everywhere, get specific information about what broadband options are available for their home, and pinpoint places around the country where communities don’t have the service they need. need,” President Rosenworcel said in a statement pronunciation. “By painting a more accurate picture of where broadband is and isn’t, local, state and federal partners can better work together to make sure no one ends up on the wrong side of the digital divide.”