The Internet for All folks report on the latest iteration of the national broadband maps. A super quick comparison to maps used for the 2022 Minnesota County Profiles leaves me wondering what the difference is. I’m hoping over the next week to dive deeper into the topic – once I can do more than a spot check…
Today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released Version 2 of the National Broadband Map. This is an important step in meeting President Biden’s goal of connecting everyone in America to affordable, reliable, high-speed Internet service.
This map is the most accurate depiction of broadband availability in the FCC’s history. Last year, for the first time ever, the FCC generated a National Broadband Map that includes location level data. This tool provides the transparency needed to better understand the digital divide and to target funding to connect unserved and underserved communities across the country.
Below are NTIA’s three key takeaways from the latest data:
- Through challenges and additional work that the FCC has been doing to improve the map’s underlying Fabric—a dataset of all locations where Internet service can be installed—the FCC added nearly three million Broadband Serviceable Locations (BSLs) while removing nearly two million for reasons ranging from updated data to the use of sophisticated tools to identify and remove structures like garages and sheds.
- The FCC’s challenge process resolved more than 3.7 million challenges to the availability data —a dataset that shows whether Internet service is, in fact, available at each location, resulting in a more accurate picture of the high-speed Internet service currently available across the nation.
- The overall national story remains consistent: From version 1 to version 2 of the FCC’s map, the percentage of unserved locations nationwide increased by 0.2 percentage points.
The release of version 2 of the FCC’s National Broadband Map is an important part of the process of implementing the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program. This version of the map—plus additional refinements based on the FCC’s continuing work to resolve availability challenges—will be used as the basis for the state allocations for the BEAD program. We know states are eager to learn more about their funding, and we continue to be on track to announce those allocations by June 30th.
It is important to remember that while the number of unserved locations in the FCC’s National Broadband Map will be used in the allocation, it is not a 1:1 correlation to final BEAD funding. For more information about how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law directs NTIA to make allocations, please see our recent blog, “Allocation of Funds.”
NTIA is confident that with this data as a baseline, we will be able to effectively allocate funds by the end of June. We will continue to monitor the FCC’s updates to availability data to ensure that we make a well-informed allocation of these vital funds.
The FCC’s map—and our ability to get the most accurate depiction of Internet access across the country—reflects ongoing collaboration among the federal government, states and territories, industry, and other stakeholders. The data underlying the FCC’s map will help us expand access to the education, healthcare, and economic resources that the Internet provides.
Ultimately, we know tens of millions of people across America do not have access to high-speed Internet service. It is vital we continue to implement this program with urgency and begin the deployment of high-speed Internet infrastructure through the BEAD program as soon as possible.
For more details on how the FCC National Broadband Map Impacts the BEAD Program read our three-part blog series at InternetForAll.Gov.