The FCC wants your opinion on the internet service map

Are you suffering from poor internet connection at home or work?

Now is the time to speak up, as the federal government aims to reach more places with faster broadband Internet service in New York and across the country.

New Yorkers and U.S. residents can research their estimated broadband Internet status and providers on the Federal Communications Commission’s draft broadband map released last fall. Residents can challenge the information on the map if something seems wrong with the level of services or providers shown there.

They have until Friday, Jan. 13, to have the best chance of making the corrections to the final version of the map this year, the agency said.

How are maps used?

The FCC’s maps are used to track what internet service is available and where. But until recently, these maps broke down neighborhoods and regions by census block.

The problem? This method was not very accurate and some streets, houses or buildings flew through the cracks. Additionally, broadband upgrade projects were often funded using these maps as a guide, which excluded some residents, especially in rural areas, from important broadband initiatives.

The FCC is now in the process of finalizing maps detailing internet services down to the address level. Both fixed broadband and mobile service maps will be available. The broadband map will be used to inform 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.  At right is Liz's husband, Chad, who works in IT and is an advocate for increasing Internet access in the family's Steuben County community of Bradford.

How the challenge process works

Thanks to the Broadband DATA Act of 2020, the FCC implemented a “testing” process for its project maps where residents can point out where the broadband information listed on it is inaccurate.

Customers can submit a fixed broadband map challenge in one of two ways: a location issue or an availability issue.

With a location problem, they can flag when a point on the map lists the wrong address or has the wrong amount of units. They can flag when there are multiple addresses in a given location, such as a multi-family home.

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