Official US Broadband map flawed, according to two reports

Earlier this year, the Federal Communications Commission launched what they called the first official map of the US's broadband Internet network. The map cost $300 million to develop and was designed to give US citizens a chance to find what broadband providers were available in their area and the broadband speeds which these companies give to customers. This week two different reports were released that were highly critical of the FCC's broadband map.

The first came from ID Insight which said it found that the FCC's map was wrong on a number of occasions when it supposedly shows an area of the US was set up for broadband service. The report states, "This analysis underscores the importance of the need for ongoing verification of carrier contributed data." In addition the Internet speeds from providers listed in the government's broadband map are also higher than the real world speeds that customers can expect. Finally, ID Insight says that they could have created a much more accurate broadband map than the governments that would have cost much less than $300 million.

Another analysis of the FCC's broadband map was reported by the Slate web site. The authors of the article, Benjamin Lennett and Sascha Meinrath, state, "At the New America Foundation, where we both work, we've partnered with the Planet Lab Consortium and Google to offer a tool that lets anyone measure the performance of his or her broadband connection, called Measurement Lab." The authors claim this method is more accurate than the government's National Broadband Map. They add, "We think that with a few vital improvements, the map could easily become an exemplar of government data transparency as well as an incredibly useful tool for U.S. residents and policymakers. But without these improvements, the National Broadband Map runs the risk of becoming a $350 million boondoggle—a map to nowhere filled with inaccurate and useless information."

Slate also posted up a response from the FCC to the article. The spokesperson, Steven Rosenberg, states, "We understand that the currently available data aren't perfect; that's why we're taking significant steps to improve them."

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17 Comments

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Athlonite said,
It cost 300 million for the same reason it cost the US Govt 50K for a dunny seat or 5K for a hammer

IMO both this report and the other facts you citedare just examples of how the government "create" the funds to finance black ops.

Well at least I hope so...........

Well, checked the site and my provider wasn't listed and historically they have been a provider of internet for well over 10 years so I would think they'd be on there. (Charter Communications).

So, not as accurate as one would suppose.

Brian Miller said,
$300 million?

I think someone's been lining their pockets with our tax money.

exactly, i hope someone looks at that figure and asks why so much.
show "us" where that 300 mil went. it is our money after all.

Moker said,

exactly, i hope someone looks at that figure and asks why so much.
show "us" where that 300 mil went. it is our money after all.

Apparently they didn't have an unlimited dialing in the US phone plan. After all, the only information used for this "map" was voluntarily provided by the ISPs themselves...ahem.

I wonder why it's not accurate?!

/sarcasm

What surprises me is the lack of really good availability of broadband. Here in Belgium we have nearly 100% coverage of ADSL2+ (and VDSL mostly), and actual 100% coverage of EuroDOCSIS3 (up to 100Mbit)...

Ambroos said,
What surprises me is the lack of really good availability of broadband. Here in Belgium we have nearly 100% coverage of ADSL2+ (and VDSL mostly), and actual 100% coverage of EuroDOCSIS3 (up to 100Mbit)...

Spare a thought for the difference in geography. The US encompasses a land area of nearly 10 million sq. km. Belgium on the other hand occupies a mere 30,000 sq. km of land. Rolling out wired telecom infrastructure here costs a lot more.

Ambroos said,
What surprises me is the lack of really good availability of broadband. Here in Belgium we have nearly 100% coverage of ADSL2+ (and VDSL mostly), and actual 100% coverage of EuroDOCSIS3 (up to 100Mbit)...

You are lucky, here in Mexico we only have up to 6Mbps - ADSL, and up to 20 Mbps - Cable (very expensive)

Siddharth Prabhu said,

Spare a thought for the difference in geography. The US encompasses a land area of nearly 10 million sq. km. Belgium on the other hand occupies a mere 30,000 sq. km of land. Rolling out wired telecom infrastructure here costs a lot more.

We're the richest nation on Earth. We can afford a few extra wires.

The TRUTH is that the only reason we are behind is that the ISPs want to show every-increasing profits every quarter. Just plain old obscene profits aren't enough anymore in America.

So, the ISPs are skimping on hardware infrastructure, a hard cost. They can get away with this because they have no real competition. Like the big five media companies (who happen to own a few ISPs, ahem), they are a colluding cartel with monopoly control over the entire industry.

There is ONE cable company, ONE DSL provider, and very few but ONE fiber optic provider in an area. And they aren't REALLY in competition with one another because DSL services the low end, cable services the mid to high end, and fiber optic services cover the super high end in the few markets where it exists.

They have deliberately divided up all of the local marketplaces with few overlaps or real competition. And even then, the BEST you have is three vendors, but usually two.

And that is NOT real capitalist competition at all.

Give me $300 million and I will ping every address and make it seem like it was valuable data by using big technical words to them like.... "ping"

of course its flawed..... the darn thing says my town only has 56k dialup, and yet we have 105Mbit cable and 50Mbit Fiber to the entire town......