Do you suffer from poor internet connection at your home or workplace?
Now is the time to speak up, as the federal government aims to cover more areas with faster broadband internet service across New York and the nation.
New Yorkers and residents of the United States can examine the presumed state of broadband internet and its providers in the Federal Communications Commission’s draft broadband map, which was unveiled last fall. If something seems wrong with the level of service or service providers listed there, residents can challenge the map information.
The agency said they have to do so by Friday, January 13, in order to have the best chance of making the patch into the final version of the map this year.
How are maps used?
FCC maps are used to track what type of Internet service there is and where it is located. But until recently, those maps broke down neighborhoods and districts by census block.
the problem? This method was not very accurate, and some streets, houses, or buildings fell through the cracks. In addition, broadband improvement projects have often been funded using these maps as a guide, leading to the exclusion of some populations, particularly in rural areas, from critical broadband initiatives.
Now, the FCC is finalizing maps that detail Internet services down to the address level. There will be fixed maps for broadband and mobile service. The broadband map will be used to report the allocation of federal funding for broadband projects in the summer of 2023.
But first, the agency needs your help.
How does the challenge process work?
Thanks to the Broadband Data Act passed in 2020, the FCC has implemented a “challenge” process for their draft maps, in which residents can point out where the broadband information listed there is inaccurate.
Customers can submit a static broadband map challenge in one of two ways: a location challenge or an availability challenge.
With a location challenge, they can mark when there is a wrong address listed at a point on the map or it has the wrong number of units. They can report when a particular location has multiple addresses located within it, like a multi-family home, for example.
Distance learning with slow internet1 in 5 metro homes in New York do not have high-speed internet. What does that mean for distance learning?
Rural Internet problemsIn rural New York, students and workers need high-speed internet amid COVID. But these barriers remain
With availability challenged, customers can oppose the providers and types of Internet services listed at a given address, or the speeds at which those providers are said to provide service.
Customers can also submit challenges to a mobile map, in the form of a speed test showing actual outdoor 3G, 4G or 5G mobile coverage at a specified address.
The law “requires the FCC to use the challenge process to continually update the map to make it more accurately reflect the reality consumers face,” FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said in December.
She added that the agency is also required to collect this “availability” data every six months to ensure that areas with spotty Internet service are identified and addressed.
“With each iteration, we’re getting closer and closer to a more accurate picture of where broadband is and where it isn’t,” said Rosenworcel.
Some lawmakers have asked the FCC to extend the initial challenge period beyond Jan. 13, saying that with the holidays and outreach efforts, residents haven’t had time to review maps and submit challenges.
“There is federal money available for rural broadband and we need to make sure our communities get their fair share,” Rep. Mark Molinaro, who represents the 19th congressional district that covers parts of the Hudson Valley, Central New York and the Class South, said Thursday. . “By extending the deadline for the FCC’s new national broadband map, we can make sure that rural communities in upstate New York have time to make their voices heard.”
How do I access the maps and submit the challenge?
Maps can be found at broadbandmap.fcc.gov.
Enter your address in the search bar, and you will be provided with all the information of your Internet, service and mobile service provider. From there, you can click on the buttons labeled “Location Challenge,” “Availability Challenge,” or “Mobile Challenge.”
You can provide supporting documentation for your challenge, such as correspondence with a service provider, home address information, or other documents.
Maps and Fixed Broadband Challenge forms can be accessed from desktop computers or mobile phones. You can take a mobile internet speed test with the FCC mobile app.