Technology FCC finally orders ISPs to say exactly where they offer broadband

Discussion in 'Headline News' started by tom_mai78101, Aug 2, 2019.

  1. tom_mai78101

    tom_mai78101 The Helper Connoisseur / Ex-MineCraft Host Staff Member

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    The Federal Communications Commission voted today to collect more accurate data about which parts of the US have broadband and which parts lack high-speed connectivity. From now on, home Internet providers will have to give the FCC geospatial maps of where they provide service instead of merely reporting which census blocks they offer service in.

    The FCC's current broadband mapping system has serious limitations. The Form 477 data-collection program that requires ISPs to report census-block coverage lets an ISP count an entire census block as served even if it can serve just one home in the block. There are millions of census blocks across the US, and each one generally contains between 600 and 3,000 people.

    Perhaps even worse, ISPs can count a census block as served in some cases where they don't provide any broadband in the block. That's because the FCC tells ISPs to report where they could offer service "without an extraordinary commitment of resources." An ISP could thus count a census block as served if it's near its network facilities, but in practice ISPs have charged homeowners tens of thousands of dollars for line extensions.

    The current mapping system is ripe for abuse and mistakes, as evidenced by a brand-new ISP named BarrierFree falsely claiming to serve 20% of the US population. The FCC pretty much takes ISPs at their word, and Pai took credit for broadband-deployment gains without realizing that his data was inflated by this gigantic error. The FCC only corrected the mistake after advocacy group Free Press discovered it.


    Read more here. (Ars Technica)
     

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