Version 2 of the FCC’s National Broadband Map is Up!

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

Cell coverage can be at least as bad as broadband in rural areas

Doug Dawson reports

Over the last few years, I have helped dozens of counties get ready for the upcoming giant broadband grants. We’ve been very successful in helping counties identify the places in their County that don’t have broadband today – which is often drastically different than what is shown by the FCC maps. We then help county governments reach out to the ISPs in the region and open up a dialog with the goal of making sure that all rural locations get better broadband. This takes a lot of work – but it’s satisfying to see counties that are on the way to finding a total broadband solution.

In working with these counties, one thing has become clear to me. Some of these counties have a bigger cellular coverage problem than they do a broadband problem. There are often a much larger number of homes in a county that don’t have adequate cellular coverage than those who can’t buy broadband.

I remember doing work in Western Minnesota, where often my dad would drive me to a meeting. He learned to park on the top of any hill (a tough find in parts of MN) or come right to the location of the meeting around the time he though I’d be done because he got no service in the area. So no way for me to contact him. Sometimes I got no service even from my meeting, which was likely in the courthouse.

Apparently there is a way to challenge the cell maps, but Doug doesn’t seem too optimistic about them…

Now the cellular carriers are required to produce maps every six months at the same time as ISPs report broadband coverage. If you haven’t noticed, you can see claimed cellular coverage on the same dashboard that shows the broadband map results. I haven’t spent much time digesting the new cellular maps since all of my clients are so focused on broadband. But I checked the maps in the region around where I live, and the maps still seem to exaggerate coverage. This is supposed to get better when wireless carriers are supposed to file heat maps for the coverage around each transmitter – we’ll have to see what that does to the coverage. It’s going to get harder for a wireless carrier to claim to cover large swaths of a county when it’s only on a tiny handful of towers.

There is a supposed way for folks to help fix the cellular maps. The FCC has a challenge process that requires taking a speed test using the FCC cellular speed test app. Unfortunately, this app requires a lot of speed tests in a given neighborhood before the FCC will even consider the results. I’m doubtful that most rural folks know of this app or are motivated enough to stop along the side of the road and repeatedly take the speed tests. And frankly, who knows if it will make any real difference even if they do?

The big cellular companies have clearly not invested in many new rural cell towers over the last decade because they’d rather have the FCC fork out the funding. I haven’t the slightest idea if $9 billion is enough money to solve the problem or even put a dent in it. No doubt, the FCC will saddle the program with rules that will add to the cost and result in fewer towers being built. But whatever is going to happen, it needs to start happening soon. We are not a mobile society, and it’s outrageous that a lot of people can’t make a call to 911, let alone use all of the features that are now controlled by our cell phones.

If your summer holiday plans include a road trip, you can check cell coverage yourself. Just track how many times your call drops of the kids in the back seat complain about service.

There appears to be a timing difference in FCC map challenges depending on whether they are bulk or individual

Thank you Telecompetitor for asking the FCC about broadband mapping challenges. A quick centering of the story … the FCC created new maps saying that federal funding will be doled out (partly) based on the maps. People and communities are worried because the maps are not always correct. People can challenge the maps in two ways. Individuals can submit a challenge for their location OR a community can submit a bulk challenge. The bulk challenge requires more technical skills; turns out unserved communities don’t always have those skills on the payroll. Individual challenges are more straightforward but that means convincing a lot of people to make a claim; turns out, residents of unserved areas may lack broadband, device and skills to submit a challenge. Never mind time required for either type of challenge.

Now the update from Telecompetitor

Over the past few months, the FCC and NTIA have recommended filing dates for bulk challenges to the National Broadband Map, which is updated twice yearly. But stakeholders hadn’t seen similar guidance from either agency about individual challenges.

Telecompetitor asked the FCC about this and, based on what a spokesperson told us, individual challenges could be addressed more quickly than bulk challenges – at least when it comes to availability challenges. Details about that later in this post. First, some definitions.

There are some suggested timelines…

Although any type of challenge can be filed at any time, the NTIA and FCC have advised stakeholders of dates by which bulk challenges should be filed in order for them to be adjudicated in time to impact the next version of the map, which the FCC updates twice yearly.

It sounds like the individual challenges can take up to 120 days to be resolved or processed as unserved but that may be quicker than bulk challenges…

Regarding the timing of availability challenges from individuals, the spokesperson noted that after a preliminary review by commission staff, fixed availability challenges are sent to providers, usually within only a few days. Providers then have 60 days to either concede the challenge (in which case the provider’s availability at challenged locations will be removed from the map) or to provide evidence to dispute the challenge.

“If the provider disputes the challenge, it then has 60 days to work with the challenger to resolve the dispute,” the spokesperson said. “We expect that most challenges will be resolved during these initial phases, but if not, the FCC will review the evidence to make a determination of whether the map will continue to show that the provider has availability at the challenged location.”

The results of availability challenges are reflected on “a rolling basis as they are resolved,” the spokesperson said.

Although the spokesperson did not answer our question asking the filing date associated with the most recent availability challenges that had been adjudicated, the timeline outlined above suggests that an individual would have had to make the challenge at least 60 days and possibly more than 120 days in advance of the next broadband map update expected in May or June in order for the resolution of the challenge to be reflected on that version of the map.

Potentially, that’s less time than NTIA expected the FCC to take for bulk challenges. Late last year, NTIA advised stakeholders to file bulk challenges by January 13 in order to have them adjudicated in time to be reflected on the version of the map that is expected in May or June.


Minnesota Recognizes importance of broadband mapping

Telecompetitor writes about the less-than-perfect FCC maps…

Since its initial release last year, the FCC National Broadband Map has faced criticism from a variety of fronts, with complaints ranging from missing locations to doubts about the accuracy of the broadband availability data.

Most recently, a number of senators have proposed legislation to ‘fix’ the maps that would add 7 months to the challenge process for states and other parties.

They recognize Minnesota as one of the states that have taken on mapping…

In response, several states have created their own broadband availability maps to complement or improve upon the FCC’s data. Some examples of state maps include:

And it sounds like we’re ahead of the curve…

The upcoming phase of the BEAD timeline will force states to decide whether or not they will use the FCC’s national map or their own mapping data for distributing broadband funds -or a mix of both. This decision will have major implications for resource allocation and the effectiveness of broadband development in underserved communities.

Minnesota has done their own mapping for many years in part because the Border to Border grant eligibility has relied on the maps. The maps are not perfect, the data is supplied by the providers, tested by the mappers (more spot checked that thorough sweep) and I think the Office of Broadband Development does a good job following up with residents who challenge the map. Minnesota communities have also used crowdsourced maps created by Geo Partners, which is created by folks taking speed tests from their locations. In 2021, Blandin hosted an interesting conversation on mapping and speed tests with local experts: Glenn Fishbine (Geo Partners), Travis Carter (USI) Steve Howard (Paul Bunyan) and Diane Wells (Office of Broadband Development).

Census and NTIA unveil new broadband map – slick but only tracking to 25/3

The Census reports on their slick new broadband map

The U.S. Census Bureau, in partnership with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), today announced the launch of the ACCESS BROADBAND Dashboard. …

The dashboard includes a series of maps showing different broadband access measures, as well as economic characteristics that research suggests could be influenced by increased access to broadband. Maps display statistics on employment, small business establishments, wages and income, poverty, home values, population change and migration, educational attainment, and gross domestic product (GDP).

You can zoom into get data at the county level and the data will be updated annually. Here are items tracked:

  • Households with a broadband subscription:
  • Population with access to broadband services of at least 25/3 Mbps:
  • Employed:
  • Labor force participation:
  • Unemployed:
  • Annual change in employment:
  • Workers self-employed:
  • Workers that work from home:
  • Weekly wage:
  • Median household income:
  • Poverty (SAIPE):
  • Poverty (ACS):
  • Establishment entry rate:
  • Annual change in establishments with less than 20 employees:
  • Annual change in establishments with less than 500 employees:
  • Annual change in Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP):
  • Median home value:
  • Annual change in population:
  • Net migration rate (per 1,000 population):
  • Population with a bachelor’s degree or higher:
  • High school-aged population not enrolled, not a graduate:

It’s great to see the subscription rate. It’s frustrating to not see access to broadband at speeds of 100/20 or higher.

EVENT Feb 16: ILSR’s Building for Digital Equity Returns

The Institute for Local Self Reliance reports

Save the date! ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks team is back for a second season of our Building for Digital Equity series.

You can register now here.

The free online live stream will be held on Feb. 16 from 2-3 pm CST/3-4 pm ET.

We will unpack how local communities are working with their states to challenge the FCC’s broadband maps, bringing together local stakeholders, policy advocates, and GIS and Data Visualization Specialists in one place. We will also cover local organizing for better broadband and the latest on the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

Institute for Local Self Reliance parses out FCC maps and potential federal funding

The Institute for Local Self Reliance is keeping an eye on the local, state and national policies that impact access to broadband. This week, they took a look at the FCC Maps, which will have an influence on how much federal funding each state will get. My intention is to whet your appetite enough to have you read the whole article but here are the highest level points…

This article will explore what is going wrong with the distribution of that $42.5 billion, the mapping process, and continued failure of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to show competence in the broadband arena. And it offers ways to fix these important problems as every jurisdiction from Puerto Rico to Hawaii feels overwhelmed by the challenge.

The $42.5 billion guarantees each state $100 million and a large additional sum calculated proportionally based on the number of locations in each state that don’t have adequate high-speed Internet service. States that already made significant investments in better rural networks and made strides toward fast universal Internet access for all households – like Massachusetts – will likely not receive much more than $100 million, while extremely large states with many high-cost rural residents – like Texas and California – will receive billions.

The process is faulty…

To recap – the FCC is required to allow challenges to its data because of its history of inaccurate broadband claims. The FCC created a proprietary fabric with a hasty contract with Costquest Associates, trying to tackle an extremely difficult problem on a short timeline. States had an early shot to fix errors in the fabric, but at a time when many state offices were still seeking people to work in their broadband offices. The data only became publicly available after the deadline passed to fix what could be millions of omitted or incorrect locations, at which point the FCC and NTIA encouraged people to submit challenges (during the December holidays) to fix both the fabric and the overstated claims of availability.

The maps are faulty…

In a discussion about the current mapping process, Executive Director of the Precision Ag Connectivity Act Stakeholder Alliance Garland McCoy argued that the new maps are going to be the same as the old maps (around 45 min in). The maps continue to rely primarily on claims by ISPs regarding what they advertise to locations without any pricing information.

Here are some recommendations…

To ensure the $42.5 billion finally resolves the digital divide, both the FCC and NTIA need to change course. NTIA needs to use some flexibility in the BEAD program to push some initial money out to states while waiting on final estimates from FCC maps that better reflect reality. Both agencies should seriously explore how and why the confusion and misinformation conflating availability challenges with location challenges happened. To resolve the problems identified above, we recommend the following:

  • NTIA should not make final BEAD allocations using data from the current FCC data collection where only some states were able to offer fixes for their many missing locations.
  • The Senate should confirm Gigi Sohn and break the FCC deadlock.
  • The FCC must develop a data source about Internet access availability that reflects the actual service available to homes and businesses.
  • The FCC needs greater independence from the biggest cable and telecom companies.

  • States need to develop their own mapping capacity rather than relying solely on the FCC and to ensure they spend Internet access subsidies wisely.

Review Your Broadband Map to Improve Border-to-Border Access: from Office of Broadband Development

This is a guest post of sorts from By Bree Maki, Executive Director of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Office of Broadband Development…

Recently, Governor Tim Walz announced that internet providers will receive nearly $100 million in funding to expand broadband coverage to more Minnesotans.  This largest-ever grant round is estimated to extend new high-speed internet connections to more than 33,000 Minnesota homes and businesses in 48 counties.

At the Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Office of Broadband Development, we’re working hard to get broadband to more Minnesotans who need it. Now, we need your help to make that a reality.

As part of the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, $65 billion in funding is available to states for broadband. We’re excited to implement the bill’s programs, but much of our funding relies on a new mapping project from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to show where broadband is and is not available.

The FCC is accepting challenges to their new map right now, and we encourage all Minnesotans to review the map to see if the broadband speeds shown to be available at their address are correct. Local review of the broadband maps is important, as residents know best if the mapping information is accurate. Minnesotans can go to to review their map and provide feedback.

To review the map, type in your address. Your home should appear on the map along with a list of services that providers claim to have available for purchase at your location. If your location is missing or inaccurately reflected on the map, you can submit a location challenge to correct it. If the information about the service provided is incorrect, you can file an availability challenge. Detailed video instructions on how to file a challenge can be found at

Our goal is border-to-border broadband coverage across Minnesota. Future federal funding will be allotted based on the number of locations in Minnesota that do not have broadband services available right now. To ensure valid challenges are incorporated into the map before federal funding allocations are made, Minnesotans have until Jan. 13, 2023 to submit feedback.

This year, between 240,000 and 291,000 households in Minnesota lacked access to high-speed broadband. So much of what we do happens online, which is why we want to ensure all Minnesotans have access to high-speed internet.

All Minnesotans deserve equal access to high-speed broadband. If you have any questions, please reach out to the Office of Broadband at 651-259-7610 or

Broadband maps to include maternal health data?

From the world of “that’s interesting”

Senate agreed to House amendment (12/13/2022)

Data Mapping to Save Moms’ Lives Act

This bill directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to include data on maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity in its broadband health mapping tool. This is an online platform that allows users to visualize, overlay, and analyze broadband and health data at national, state, and county levels.

The FCC must consult with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding the data to incorporate into the tool.

Carver County MN encourages residents to report inaccuracies on FCC broadband map

Carver County is asking local residents to check their addresses on FCC map…

Carver County residents lacking access to high-speed internet service need to check the accuracy of Federal Communications Commission maps to ensure future Federal funding of broadband projects to the County.

The Federal government has pledged between $40-60 billion in funding nationwide, basing its award formula on current maps. Those maps, County officials discovered, often aren’t accurate in terms of County locations without high-speed service or mistaken about the actual service and speeds available to customers.

County residents and business should visit the FCC website, where they can check the FCC’s information regarding high-speed internet availability and listed providers. If the information proves inaccurate, users should use the accompanying form to report the inaccurate information to the FCC. Providing accurate information bolsters the County’s chances at receiving more Federal dollars to support current broadband projects through more accurate maps.

“Making sure the FCC’s maps contain accurate information for Carver County helps ensure we receive our fair share of Federal funding in support of all County locations having high-speed internet access,” said Gayle Degler, Carver County Board of Commissioner’s chair and District 1 representative.

“We know the importance of high-speed internet access for all our residences and businesses for work-from-home opportunities, educational needs, and small business support,” said Commissioner John P. Fahey, who represents District 5, covering the majority of the western portion of the County, which are primarily rural. “Having this access in our smaller communities and Townships gives people greater choices in where to live, where to locate small businesses, and encourages growth across the County.”

These submissions are due by Jan. 13, 2023. The Federal program’s allocations are scheduled to begin disbursement in 2023 and beyond. The County likely would use any funding in similar fashion as its Connect Up Carver Initiative by partnering with private service providers to bring the actual access to residents and businesses, leveraging the County’s CarverLink network.

Consumer Reports on the FCC Broadband maps and how you can make them better

I’ve written about the maps before, but with a deadline of Jan 13, 2023 to comment on them, I figure it’s worth speaking again. Consumer Reports recognizes the inaccuracies and tells readers how to report when their address appears to have wrong broadband info…

A few weeks ago, the Federal Communications Commission released a new national broadband map, which is supposed to help consumers see their options for internet service. Just as important, the map will be used to help determine where some $42.5 billion in federal funds will go to build out better access in places where high-speed, affordable broadband is lacking.

The map has quickly become a battleground for states, including Colorado, New York, and Vermont, which say it doesn’t accurately reflect how many of their citizens lack fast access to the internet. If the FCC map understates the problem, state officials say, they won’t get the funding needed to address the problem.

Despite arguments over the new FCC map, it’s widely acknowledged to be more accurate than the previous version. To judge for yourself, you can plug in your address—and let the FCC know if you find an inaccuracy.

They recognize that the maps mean money…

The new funding was allocated by last year’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which set up the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program to help more Americans get online. An agency called the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will distribute funds to states based on how many of their residents lack broadband access.

The money could go to big internet service providers such as Comcast or Spectrum to help them build out connections to new neighborhoods and homes, but it can also be directed to smaller providers, private/public partnerships, and cooperatives, including municipal broadband projects. Any project that receives money from the states will be required to provide an affordable option for low-income households.

How you can help make the maps better…

The information in the map is being provided by internet service providers. To see if you agree with what they’ve told the FCC, you can check the FCC national broadband map yourself. Type in your address and the national map will zoom in to your neighborhood, which will be covered with locations with green dots, one for each location where internet service is available. Click on your home, and you’ll see the various options for service.

Challenges can be made on two fronts—address accuracy and service availability. If your address doesn’t appear, you can click on “challenge location.” You can also submit a challenge if the map says a company offers service at your location, but it really doesn’t. Click the “availability challenge” button in the same box. That will bring up a form where you can challenge the information.

Scroll down, complete the form, and choose the reason for your challenge from the drop-down list. You can upload files— screenshots, photos, and emails—that support your challenge. You can also write a description of your experience in the form. Once you hit “submit” your claim will be reviewed by the FCC. If accepted, the agency will pass it on to the internet provider. If the ISP disagrees with you, it will contact you and try to resolve the issue. If the issue can’t be resolved, the FCC will decide who’s right—and if you win the challenge, the ISP has to update its availability data on the map within 30 days of the decision.

The FCC’s new online help center is available to provide assistance with the process.

Need help challenging the FCC maps to ensure funding comes to MN? ILSR can help.

I’ve written about the importance the FCC maps. They will be used to determine where funding will be invested for improved broadband. People are invited to visit the maps to check the veracity of their marked level of broadband. If they find inaccuracies, they are asked to report them. Or whole communities can report locations. But the maps have been found to be tricky. TO help, the Institute for Local Self Reliance has come up with a step-by-step guide to help folks…

In an effort to provide a better understanding of the map itself, and the challenge process, we created a short series of instructional videos and a click-through guide. Through the videos we provide:

  • An overview of the map itself, important features to be aware of, and how to navigate the map interface.
  • Walk-through of the location challenge process (The deadline for submitting location challenges is Jan. 13, 2023).
  • Walk-through of the broadband availability challenge process (i.e., issues with claims of availability in the map made by Internet service providers).

The challenge guide is in pdf format and was designed to allow users to click links to navigate to the resources they need. Similar to information shared in the videos (below), this resource includes instructions for both the location and availability challenges, as well as more detailed information about valid reasons for submitting those challenges.

We also include a timeline of the availability challenge process, and links to FCC resources for those interested in submitting a bulk challenge. You can find the challenge guide here.

Criticisms of the new FCC Broadband maps and challenge process

GNC reports on public reaction to the new FCC broadband maps…

Just days after the Federal Communications Commission released an initial draft of a national map showing the availability of broadband internet, some groups are criticizing what they see as the map’s shortcomings.

A letter from open internet nonprofit Public Knowledge dated Nov. 22 called for various improvements to the FCC’s mapping process, which it said had some “inaccuracies.”

Public Knowledge said the procedures for states, local communities and even individuals to challenge the broadband availability map needs to be clarified, as many stakeholders expressed “confusion” over the challenge process. The group also said that the FCC should better explain how it would use local challenges against speeds, if the reported speed on the map is not actually offered by internet service providers.

The organization questioned the satellite broadband availability data, which it said “misleadingly indicates that the vast majority of the country is served.” Instead, Public Knowledge said the FCC should update its maps to provide a “more realistic picture of broadband availability.” While satellite internet has shown promise, the nonprofit said, in practice satellite providers cannot serve most locations in the country with broadband.

Additionally, community institutions like schools and libraries were left off the FCC’s maps of residential service, Public Knowledge said. The FCC apparently assumed that those buildings receive commercial broadband service, when, in fact, many anchor institutions use residential service and should be included in the map.

These criticisms align with what I’m hearing from folks on the frontlines in Minnesota.

Will BEAD fund unlicensed spectrum? Good question and it will matter in Minnesota!

So many posts about the FCC maps and funding and details because the details will impact how much money communities will receive for broadband in the next few years. The issue this post – unlicensed spectrum versus licensed spectrum. Telecompetitor reports

The BEAD program is designed to cover some of the costs of deploying broadband to unserved rural areas. In establishing rules for the program, NTIA omitted fixed wireless service that relies totally on unlicensed spectrum for last mile connectivity from its definition of reliable service – a decision that impacts the BEAD program in two ways.

It makes FWA deployments using unlicensed spectrum ineligible for funding. And it makes areas that have high-speed broadband eligible for overbuilds if the only high-speed broadband available is FWA that relies on unlicensed spectrum.

But some folks want that changed…

Seven U.S. senators sent a letter to Alan Davidson, head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, today urging NTIA to revise its definition of reliable broadband for the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program.

So what’s the difference between licensed and unlicensed spectrums?

Here’s a definition from IotaComm. I was hoping for a less commercial perspective but also high level enough to take in easily.

Most of the radio spectrum is licensed by the FCC to certain users, for example, television and radio broadcasters. Individual companies pay a licensing fee for the exclusive right to transmit on an assigned frequency within a certain geographical area. In exchange, those users can be assured that nothing will interfere with their transmission.

Alternatively, organizations can still use the airwaves to transmit communications without getting permission from the FCC, but they must transmit within those parts of the spectrum that are designated for unlicensed users. The amount of spectrum that is available for public and unlicensed use is very small—only a few bands. Both the size of the area and the lack of exclusivity mean there’s greater potential for interference from other users located nearby. (It’s like the “wild west” of radio communication.)

The Telecompetitor article touches on it a little…

NTIA hasn’t said much about why it defined reliable broadband as it did. But David Zumwalt, CEO of the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) told Telecompetitor a few months ago that NTIA’s primary concern was the future availability of unlicensed spectrum.

WISPA is particularly concerned about whether areas that already have unlicensed high-speed FWA will be eligible for overbuilding through the BEAD program, as many WISPA members already have made high-speed FWA deployments that rely on unlicensed spectrum.

Folks in Minnesota may have a special interest in this issue. According to the FCC map, LTD Broadband is serving a large portion Southern Minnesota with unlicensed spectrum, as the map below indicates.

According to new FCC map Minnesota has ubiquitous broadband at 25/3 – hmm

I have good news and bad news. According to new FCC map, Minnesota has ubiquitous broadband at speeds of 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up. It’s good news if it’s true. It’s bad news if it’s not true and we lose out on federal broadband funding because the maps were wrong. According to maps from the Office of Broadband Development, the FCC maps are wrong. The areas shown in pink in the map below (on the right) do not have broadband at 25/3.

If you live in one of these areas, check out the map and report a location challenge if you think they FCC map is wrong. Once you look up your address, you’ll see the where to make a location challenge on the website.

If you are a community leader or a (potential?) provider in the area, you might think about how to get your neighbors to report overrepresentation or think about attending the tutorial from the FCC on how to file bulk challenges to the FCC’s broadband map on November 30.