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If your broadband connection sucks the FCC wants to hear about it

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The availability and speed of broadband services in the United States could be better, there is little doubt of that. To improve both of these, the Federal Communications Commission is reaching out to consumers directly as part of its broadband data collection program to share their broadband experiences.

The FCC is more than just a means of venting. She hopes that surveying consumers about their Internet experience will help create a more accurate broadband map.

“Far too many Americans are lagging behind with access to jobs, education, and health care if they don’t have access to broadband,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, FCC Acting Chairperson Broadband will help inform the FCC’s mapping efforts and future decisions on where to go Services are needed. “

Note. We go straight to consumers. https://t.co/bZzsFo46apMarch 22, 2021

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Inaccurate broadband maps have been a point of frustration for Americans, especially those who (though not exclusively) live in rural areas. The FCC poured salt on the wound and released a broadband report in 2019, under the direction of former chairman Ajit Pai, indicating that high-speed internet services were “provided on a reasonable and timely basis”.

That same year, Microsoft called for a “new approach to mapping broadband data to better serve Americans,” noting that multiple studies showed that broadband has a direct impact on employment and GDP growth.

“The latest government broadband statistics come from the FCC and suggest that 25 million Americans do not have access to broadband connection. However, there is strong evidence that the percentage of Americans without broadband access is much higher than the figures reported by the FCC “so Microsoft said at the time.

Microsoft’s anonymized data showed that over 160 million Americans were not using the Internet at broadband speeds in 2019, far more than the 24.7 million people the FCC claimed to be without broadband at the time.

Data collection is part of the problem, especially when the primary source is the mapping of data from ISPs and cell carriers. The hope is that by contacting consumers directly, the FCC will be able to more accurately assess the true state of broadband in the US as experienced by actual users.

“Service providers and governments are using broadband cards to make decisions about where services are needed and how to fund the expansion of broadband services. The FCC is currently updating their current broadband cards with more detailed and accurate information on the availability of landline and landline cards for mobile broadband services,” says the FCC.

You can share your experience in a fairly simple complaint form. It encourages consumers to describe their problem in “no more than 3-5 sentences” and is inherently open-ended. You may feel compelled to complain about data limitations or costs in addition to (or instead of) speeds and availability.

The FCC has also launched a new broadband data collection website to highlight milestones and provide updates to consumers. It also has links to various related resources, including the latest broadband map.

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Robert Dunfee