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."