Broadband access vs broadband use: what does the FCC look at?

Recode recently ran an article on the FCC and the info it collects to create the broadband maps (Form 477). If Form 477 is new to you, the article will be super helpful. If it isn’t the article is still interesting. It looks at the FCC maps and the recent Microsoft maps that measure usage. It outlines the reasons that Form 477 is not the best way to track the digital divide. Here’s a very abbreviated list of their reasons:

  • The info gathered from the providers. The way the forms are set up (and read the article for greater detail), an area is considered served even if it is only partially served. The providers have said that the forms are very cumbersome to complete. So the providers aren’t happy with the process. The public isn’t happy with the results. There must be a better way.
  • The info only gauges availability, not usage. It’s not enough to just have access. It needs to be affordable. People need to have a computer/device and the skills to use it. Only then do the people and the community reap the benefits.
  • People need broadband. They list many reasons, again you can check the article.
  • Financial investments are made based on the results of the FCC maps.

What I thought was most helpful – was the table comparing FCC’s measure of availability versus Microsoft’s measure of usage in each county of Minnesota. (Or download the chart in a Word Doc.)

County BB Availability BB Usage Percentage difference
Aitkin County, MN 28.8% 13.3% -15.5 pct. pts
Anoka County, MN 97.4% 43.4% -54.0 pct. pts
Becker County, MN 75.9% 19.1% -56.8 pct. pts.
Beltrami County, MN 98.8% 29.4% -69.4 pct. pts.
Benton County, MN 70.1% 22.3% -47.8 pct. pts.
Big Stone County, MN 98.0% 21.2% -76.8 pct. pts.
Blue Earth County, MN 100.0% 39.2% -60.8 pct. pts.
Brown County, MN 97.3% 27.2% -70.1 pct. pts.
Carlton County, MN 71.6% 21.6% -50.0 pct. pts.
Carver County, MN 99.1% 41.3% -57.8 pct. pts.
Cass County, MN 72.0% 13.3% -58.7 pct. pts.
Chippewa County, MN 78.0% 17.3% -60.7 pct. pts.
Chisago County, MN 69.4% 11.7% -57.7 pct. pts.
Clay County, MN 91.1% 30.1% -61.0 pct. pts.
Clearwater County, MN 99.8% 5.5% -94.3 pct. pts.
Cook County, MN 98.4% 25.7% -72.7 pct. pts.
Cottonwood County, MN 98.9% 8.3% -90.6 pct. pts.
Crow Wing County, MN 90.2% 39.2% -51.0 pct. pts.
Dakota County, MN 99.6% 53.8% -45.8 pct. pts.
Dodge County, MN 100.0% 29.2% -70.8 pct. pts.
Douglas County, MN 75.6% 38.5% -37.1 pct. pts.
Faribault County, MN 100.0% 14.0% -86.0 pct. pts.
Fillmore County, MN 94.2% 18.2% -76.0 pct. pts.
Freeborn County, MN 100.0% 25.8% -74.2 pct. pts.
Goodhue County, MN 100.0% 18.4% -81.6 pct. pts.
Grant County, MN 83.5% 14.5% -69.0 pct. pts.
Hennepin County, MN 98.7% 72.0% -26.7 pct. pts.
Houston County, MN 74.9% 20.1% -54.8 pct. pts.
Hubbard County, MN 93.6% 24.8% -68.8 pct. pts.
Isanti County, MN 56.0% 37.2% -18.8 pct. pts.
Itasca County, MN 78.8% 20.2% -58.6 pct. pts.
Jackson County, MN 100.0% 26.8% -73.2 pct. pts.
Kanabec County, MN 32.2% 3.7% -28.5 pct. pts.
Kandiyohi County, MN 88.0% 47.9% -40.1 pct. pts.
Kittson County, MN 66.6% 3.7% -62.9 pct. pts.
Koochiching County, MN 69.7% 15.4% -54.3 pct. pts.
Lac qui Parle County, MN 96.3% 9.3% -87.0 pct. pts.
Lake County, MN 89.0% 34.8% -54.2 pct. pts.
Lake of the Woods County, MN 72.9% 12.8% -60.1 pct. pts.
Le Sueur County, MN 100.0% 20.8% -79.2 pct. Pts.
Lincoln County, MN 62.9% 5.4% -57.5 pct. pts.
Lyon County, MN 82.4% 33.7% -48.7 pct. pts.
Mahnomen County, MN 79.0% 18.1% -60.9 pct. pts.
Marshall County, MN 61.6% 5.6% -56.0 pct. pts.
Martin County, MN 100.0% 21.7% -78.3 pct. pts.
McLeod County, MN 79.7% 32.3% -47.4 pct. pts.
Meeker County, MN 75.3% 11.1% -64.2 pct. pts.
Mille Lacs County, MN 43.7% 9.1% -34.6 pct. pts.
Morrison County, MN 63.2% 11.7% -51.5 pct. pts.
Mower County, MN 100.0% 29.6% -70.4 pct. pts.
Murray County, MN 95.8% 6.2% -89.6 pct. pts.
Nicollet County, MN 99.8% 26.4% -73.4 pct. pts.
Nobles County, MN 89.3% 22.2% -67.1 pct. pts.
Norman County, MN 43.2% 17.2% -26.0 pct. pts.
Olmsted County, MN 100.0% 55.6% -44.4 pct. pts.
Otter Tail County, MN 74.8% 17.4% -57.4 pct. pts.
Pennington County, MN 96.1% 16.5% -79.6 pct. pts.
Pine County, MN 45.4% 12.2% -33.2 pct. pts.
Pipestone County, MN 81.5% 20.7% -60.8 pct. pts.
Polk County, MN 91.2% 20.9% -70.3 pct. pts.
Pope County, MN 64.1% 5.2% -58.9 pct. pts.
Ramsey County, MN 98.9% 52.5% -46.4 pct. pts.
Red Lake County, MN 100.0% 4.4% -95.6 pct. pts.
Redwood County, MN 89.0% 12.4% -76.6 pct. pts.
Renville County, MN 88.2% 16.0% -72.2 pct. pts.
Rice County, MN 100.0% 25.8% -74.2 pct. pts.
Rock County, MN 99.6% 55.0% -44.6 pct. pts.
Roseau County, MN 61.0% 10.7% -50.3 pct. pts.
Scott County, MN 99.8% 43.8% -56.0 pct. pts.
Sherburne County, MN 84.4% 35.0% -49.4 pct. pts.
Sibley County, MN 99.6% 19.6% -80.0 pct. pts.
St. Louis County, MN 84.0% 38.7% -45.3 pct. pts.
Stearns County, MN 83.3% 45.5% -37.8 pct. pts.
Steele County, MN 100.0% 56.5% -43.5 pct. pts.
Stevens County, MN 99.0% 32.7% -66.3 pct. pts.
Swift County, MN 92.4% 31.0% -61.4 pct. pts.
Todd County, MN 45.8% 17.4% -28.4 pct. pts.
Traverse County, MN 91.1% 7.5% -83.6 pct. pts.
Wabasha County, MN 100.0% 23.5% -76.5 pct. pts.
Wadena County, MN 87.0% 10.7% -76.3 pct. pts.
Waseca County, MN 100.0% 13.8% -86.2 pct. pts.
Washington County, MN 96.8% 48.9% -47.9 pct. pts.
Watonwan County, MN 99.8% 48.9% -50.9 pct. pts.
Wilkin County, MN 66.8% 6.1% -60.7 pct. pts.
Winona County, MN 97.4% 29.6% -67.8 pct. pts.
Wright County, MN 89.8% 41.6% -48.2 pct. pts.
Yellow Medicine County, MN 45.4% 13.7% -31.7 pct. pts.

 

This entry was posted in uncategorized by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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