Today the U.S. takes another important step in identifying and addressing the remaining challenges in ensuring that all Americans have access to broadband. The FCC today adopted an Order designed to improve the accuracy and granularity of the FCC's data and maps that show where broadband service is available. The FCC will collect broadband data (“shapefiles”) from fixed broadband providers, allowing for more granular understanding of where broadband is available—and where it is not. And the FCC is also asking further questions about how that information should be collected, as well as how to incorporate further data on mobile broadband coverage.
As America’s best network, we know the importance of having access to reliable, speedy broadband, and to the fiber that drives and supports it. Our customers rely on such broadband connections for school, work, business, and in their personal lives. Access to broadband is critical to helping deliver the promise of the digital world, and why we’ve committed hundreds of millions of dollars to help close the digital divide.
That’s also why we’re part of U.S. Telecom’s Broadband Mapping Initiative which is working to develop tools to map broadband service by specific location across multiple providers. The Initiative’s data—far more accurate than has previously been gathered—will help the FCC better target its funding to fill the “gaps” where broadband may be missing. Such information is critical as it continues its efforts to ensure all homes and businesses have access to broadband and a connected world.
There’s a lot more work to do to make sure that all Americans benefit from the opportunities broadband makes available. But with today’s action to improve our visibility into remaining gaps, the FCC takes an important step. We look forward to continuing to work with the FCC and other policymakers to get broadband mapping right and to overcoming the digital divide.