the FCC announced today who has started to solicit first-hand accounts from people forced to rely on a shitty 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 maps.”
“Too many Americans are left behind in access to jobs, education and healthcare if they do not have access to broadband,” FCC Acting President Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement announcing the initiative. “Collecting data from consumers who are directly affected by a lack of broadband access will help inform the FCC’s mapping efforts and future decisions about where service is needed.”
Anyone who wants to tell the FCC how bad their internet sucks you can use this form to discuss any internet related issues. ISP throttling your internet? Write it. Won’t the ISP update your old DSL service? Write it. Don’t have internet 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 an information hub for the broadband data collection program, a kind of one-stop shop for consumers and industry stakeholders to stay on top of what’s going on. in the world of Internet at home. And once the FCC has collected enough personal anecdotes, the agency will provide information on its new broadband data collection reporting systems that have yet to be established.
On the one hand, this seems like a refreshing change of pace compared to the way the FCC did things under the previous administration. But at the same time, there is already lots of anecdotal evidence out there on the delay in coverage and broadband speeds in the country. The media, various organizations and data companies have already reported on the situation and those reports would point the FCC in the right direction.
BroadbandNowFor example, you have a detailed map showing all census blocks in the US that do not have a terrestrial broadband provider. Fixing the loophole in form 477, which allowed ISPs to report that their service covered an entire census block, even if only one household in that census block subscribed to that service, was a start. But the FCC used that flawed data as the basis for ISPs to bid in its Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction last year, prompting municipal broadband providers and electric cooperatives asks if the grant money went to the right companies. Not to mention the previous RDOF auction winners have not been able to provide Internet to rural America in the time frame they said they would.
There is also a bit of irony in directing those who are “directly affected by the lack of broadband access” to an online form as the only way to tell the FCC how the lack of broadband access affects their lives. Come on, FCC. You can do better than this half-hearted attempt to find out the actual number of people in the US. I don’t have reliable internet access Y how does that affect them.