The long-awaited US broadband internet maps are here — for you to challenge

We’ve shown you — over and over, both with data and anecdotally — that the Internet is broken in the United States. We pay more for less and face more bulls. And one big reason is that wolves guard the henhouse. The FCC is counting on it Internet service providers themselves to tell the truth about which houses they cover, data that the FCC did not check.

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So if you think Internet access is important, do everyone like-minded a favor: type your address into the FCC’s long-awaited new broadband maps and see if Internet service providers are lying about providing coverage to your home. If so, press the small “Challenge to Find” button and submit your testimony.

Today, the FCC finally put the first “pre-production draft” version of its new interactive broadband maps on the web, and they’re better in one way — they no longer automatically assume you’re covered. just because one home is somewhere on your census tract get the internet. (Yes, it used to work that way.) Now, you can see each address and click a button to challenge what ISPs report to the government.

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Unfortunately, you’ll need to get involved here (and/or make a political stink) if you want this map to be accurate. Because, as dedicated broadband journalists like Nicole Ferraro and Karl Bode have been warning, new maps still trust ISPs to be honest. Heck, who is the CEO of the FCC’s own company, CostQuest, acknowledged that they depend on “how well the broadband providers report.” And I think I can see the wrong things in my place.

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Hit that “Challenge Availability” button if ISPs are reporting bad.

Hit that “Challenge Availability” button if ISPs are reporting bad.
Screenshot by Sean Hollister / The Verge

You also won’t find actual internet speeds on the map, just advertised maximum speeds for each category the ISP says it will sell at your address.

Anyway, new maps are like that something, and it is interesting to filter by a specific type or speed of service and you can already see the gaps. At the top of this post, you can see that even the self-reported data shows that fiber is still far ahead.

The FCC acknowledges that there is more to be done and they need your help. “While today marks an important milestone in the effort to create more granular and accurate broadband maps, this work is far from over,” read part of a statement from FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel. “Releasing this first version of the new maps is intended to start a continuous, iterative process where we are constantly adding new data to improve and refine the maps.”

This week, the FCC also issued its final order on broadband nutrition labels. They are coming! I’ll have another quick story on that soon.


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