Everyone associates this time of year with Thanksgiving, but, for those of us who occasionally visit FCC.gov, there’s another reason for anticipation when the calendar turns to November: new broadband maps.
The third iteration of the National Broadband Map is now publicly available and this version, just like the version before it, continues to build on our efforts to add new information, refine data, and incorporate lessons learned, all of which helps to improve the Map’s accuracy.
Here are some notable highlights:
- The number of unserved homes and businesses is going down. The new Map shows that just over 7.2 million locations lack access to high-speed internet service. That’s down from 8.3 million when the second map was released in May. The digital divide is still significant, but it’s narrowing.
- Broadband buildouts are happening. Providers are connecting more locations to high-speed internet services thanks to the Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund and Connect America Fund, in addition to other federal, state and privately funded programs and projects. And that’s before the deployments funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law kick-in.
- Challenges, verifications and audits are all making the Map better. Robust participation in the challenge processes continues to play a valuable role in correcting data shown on the Map. To be specific, the results of 4.8 million challenges to provider reported availability information and over 1.5 million accepted location challenges. Since our last release, we’ve initiated mobile coverage audits in a number of states. We’ve also seen hundreds of corrections to provider reported data based on FCC-initiated verification efforts.
- The fluctuations in our location data are getting smaller. This is what you want and expect to see with each new Fabric release. The number of broadband serviceable locations on the current Map is up to 115 million, an increase of 800,000 since May 2023. Looking ahead, we expect that any changes in the number of locations will overwhelmingly reflect on-the-ground changes such as the construction of new housing.
- Stakeholder engagement continues to yield results. Providers are continuing to refine their data matching and reporting, challengers are sharpening their evidence, and stakeholders are sharing crowdsource submissions that help us to identify service provider data that may warrant heightened review.
With each refresh of the map we are more confident in the accuracy of the data. And with better data we are exploring ways to make other data driven decisions, such as our work supporting the Data Mapping to Save Moms’ Lives Act.
The work continues and we will continue to collect updated data and release new maps, just as Congress intended.