The Federal Communications Commission last week launched a new map detailing where the nation’s four largest mobile carriers provide voice and data service, part of a broader effort to improve broadband and internet service across the United States.
The map shows AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and UScellular LTE voice and data coverage, giving consumers a way to search coverage by a specific address or geographic area.
“Today’s new map represents progress in our efforts to implement the Broadband DATA Act and build next-generation broadband maps that can help to connect 100 percent of Americans,” said FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “Using improved systems and data, we can provide better information about where broadband service is and is not across the country.”
The Broadband DATA Act, signed into law in March 2020, requires the FCC to update methods for broadband data collection, verification, and reports. Specifically, the FCC must collect and disseminate granular broadband service availability data (broadband maps) from wired, fixed-wireless, satellite, and mobile broadband providers.
According to the FCC:
The map shows 4G LTE broadband data and voice mobile coverage as of May 15, 2021, for each of the nation’s four largest mobile carriers. This data was voluntarily submitted by these carriers outside of the FCC’s normal schedule for intake of data through the FCC Form 477. To the extent other carriers are interested in making similar voluntary standardized submissions, please contact the Broadband Data Task Force.
While this is a significant milestone for the FCC’s Broadband Data Task Force, its work continues. Last month, the FCC selected a vendor to assist with critical systems development, and the procurement for the Broadband Serviceable Locations Fabric is underway consistent with federal contracting requirements. In addition, the agency is seeking comment on the technical details surrounding the challenge and verification processes for its mobile maps. The Task Force will hold a webinar on these proposals on August 12. Once the final challenge processes are established, state, local, and Tribal authorities, as well as consumers, will be able to provide input informed by real-world experience to help improve the accuracy of the agency’s maps.
MACo adopted “Build out Broadband” among its top legislative initiatives for 2021, and supported multiple successful initiatives. Counties continue to develop approaches to this vexing issue, with federal funds through the State likely to complement local and private-sector initiatives.
As Maryland launches its historic investment to boost broadband infrastructure and connectivity, county governments will be integral partners for ensuring access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet – an essential component of a county’s economic development and the socio-economic advancement of its residents.