The FCC wants your feedback on the Internet Service Map

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.

Many residents of rural Steuben County, New York depend on satellite dishes for television, where digital services are often unavailable due to an unreliable internet.  File photo taken January 28, 2019.

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.

In this 2019 file photo, Liz Walrath, center, homeschools her youngest child, Liam Walrath, left.  Right, Liz's husband, Chad, who works in IT and advocates for increased Internet access in the rural Steuben County community of Bradford.

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.

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