The FCC wants to know how bad your internet is

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The FCC wants to know how bad your internet is


Illustration from article titled The FCC Wants To Hear How Bad Your Internet Is

photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP (Getty Images)

The FCC announced today that he’s started soliciting first-hand accounts from people who are forced to rely on the crappy internet. This new initiative is part of the FCC’s broadband data collection program, and the agency hopes that by collecting information directly from consumers, it will be better equipped to “improve the accuracy of its existing broadband cards.” “.

“Far too many Americans are left behind in accessing jobs, education and health care if they don’t have broadband access,” said FCC Interim President , Jessica Rosenworcel, in a statement announcing the initiative. “Collecting data from consumers directly affected by lack of broadband access will help inform the FCC’s mapping efforts and future decisions on where service is needed.”

Anyone wanna tell the FCC how bad their internet sucks can use this form to talk about any internet related problem. ISP Throttling Your Internet? Write it. The ISP won’t update your old DSL service? Write it. Don’t have internet at all because you live in a rural area and HughesNet is too expensive? Write it all down.

The FCC says this new website will also become a clearinghouse for the broadband data collection program, a kind of one-stop-shop for consumers and industry stakeholders to keep tabs on what’s happening. happening in the home internet world. And once the FCC collects enough personal anecdotes, the agency will provide information about its new broadband data collection reporting systems that have yet to be put in place.

G / O Media can get a commission

On the one hand, it seems like a refreshing change of pace from how the FCC did things under the previous administration. But at the same time there is already loads of anecdotal evidence out there on how the nation’s coverage and broadband speeds are lagging behind. The media, various organizations and data companies have already reported on the situation and these reports would point the FCC in the right direction.

BroadbandNow, for example, has a detailed map showing every census block in the United States that does not have a terrestrial broadband service provider. Fixing the reporting flaw in Form 477 – which allowed ISPs to report that an entire census block was covered by their service even if only one house on that census block was actually subscribed to that service – was a start. But the FCC used this flawed data as the basis for ISPs to bid on its Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction last year, prompting municipal broadband providers and power co-ops to whether the grant money went to the right companies. Not to mention the previous RDOF auction winners were unable to provide internet to rural America within the timeframe.

There is also a bit of irony in directing these who are “directly affected by the lack of broadband access” to an online form as the only way to tell the FCC how lack of broadband access is affecting their lives. Come on, FCC. You can do better than this half attempt to determine the actual number of people in the United States who do not have reliable internet access and how does it affect them.

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