The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking feedback on their National Broadband Map, which is being designed to provide the best picture of where broadband is and is not available across the country. Per NAR policy, REALTORS® support a comprehensive national policy to stimulate the deployment of broadband in underserved areas of the U.S., increase data capabilities, and provide affordable broadband prices.
According to the agency’s website, “the FCC’s older maps collected data at the census block level, meaning that if a single home was served in a census block, the whole block would show up as served on maps. The net result was maps that were overly optimistic, lacked location-specific information, and subsequently glossed over gaps in coverage. With these new maps, the FCC [is attempting to provide] a far more detailed and accurate picture of fixed broadband availability.” These maps are critically important because they will determine how billions of dollars in broadband infrastructure funding will be dispersed among states and territories.
The FCC has underscored that the long-term success of their mapping efforts will depend on consumer and stakeholder engagement. To ensure that the map is as accurate as possible, the agency is welcoming feedback from the public, including challenges to its accuracy. If individuals notice a difference between the reported level of broadband availability and their lived experiences in those coverage areas, they are encouraged to report those discrepancies on the FCC’s National Broadband Map website. All data for the map must be submitted by March 1, 2023.
This action affords an opportunity for REALTOR members and real estate professionals to provide feedback about the internet accessibility in their area and be strong advocates for universal broadband. It is critical that homes with insufficient broadband infrastructure — which are most often located in rural areas, tribal territories, mountain towns or areas with challenging terrain — are properly represented in this map.