We need to demand better broadband maps before we invest more government money based on existing broadband maps.
The FCC uses maps to determine who has broadband (served) and who does not (unserved). These maps are created from data supplied by the broadband providers themselves (477 Form). These maps were used to determine which locations were eligible for RDOF (Rural Digital Opportunity Funds) .
Through RDOF LTD Broadband was deemed eligible to receive $1.32 billion in the US, including $312 million in Minnesota to build FTTH to unserved locations. There is some controversy about that decision – but this post isn’t about LTD, it’s about the maps.
Looking at maps where LTD is eligible to received funding, there are some surprises. For example the Vikings Practice Facility shows up as eligible, as does Henry Sibley High School, lots of locations along the highway and spots in commercial portions of suburban Twin Cities – just feet away from areas that were served. And then there are areas where locations seem to be on or under the highway.
The best way to share the info is to share the maps and include context:
- Census block
- Number of locations
- Implied annual support amount for concluding bid for the census block shown in the map. (The money hasn’t been awarded yet – just the opportunity to get the award.)
We need to demand better broadband maps before we invest more government money based on existing broadband maps. You can start by contacting the FCC or your policymakers – some have already made strides to get FCC to improve the maps.