The FCC’s Broadband Map ‘Hallucinates’ Broadband Access

In February the FCC released a new broadband map showing the availability of high-speed internet in the United States. The previous map was apparently useless, but the new map has been coming in for its share of criticism as well because it doesn’t match the reality on the ground. Partly it’s because the map shows the number of internet providers providing service by census block whereas actual availability is more granular than that. But only partly. Techdirt’s Karl Bode says both old and new versions of the map “all-but hallucinate available options out of whole cloth while vastly over-stating the speeds available to American consumers”:

For example, I can only get access to one ISP (Comcast) at my residence in Seattle, purportedly one of the nation’s technology leaders. Yet the FCC’s new map informs me I have seven broadband options available to me. Two of these options, CenturyLink DSL and CenturyLink fiber are somehow counted twice despite neither actually being available. Three others are satellite broadband service whose high prices, high latency and low caps make them unsuitable as a real broadband option. The seventh is a fixed-wireless option that doesn’t actually serve my address.

Some U.S. senators aren’t happy either. [Leventhal]

Author: Jonathan Crowe

I blog about maps at The Map Room, review books for AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review, and edit a fanzine called Ecdysis.