U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today released the following statement regarding the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) draft broadband availability maps. These new maps are a result of Wicker's Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act, which required the FCC to strengthen its broadband data collection and mapping process to help deploy broadband more accurately to underserved and unserved communities across the nation.
"The FCC has finally released a draft version of the new broadband maps required by the bipartisan Broadband DATA Act. These drafts are a good first step, but unfortunately for rural Americans, these maps are still flawed," Wicker said. "We have already heard of reports that entire communities are missing from the new maps, undermining the success of the Broadband DATA Act. To ensure that no address is overlooked in the final version, I am calling on all Americans to check for their homes and businesses on the maps and participate in the FCC's challenge process. With literally billions of federal dollars at stake, accurate maps are essential in providing efficient funding where it is needed."
Click here to check for your community on the FCC broadband availability maps.
The Broadband DATA Act was signed into law in 2020 after Wicker and other legislators recognized the need to improve the FCC coverage maps used to determine who has access to broadband and how federal funding resources were allocated nationwide. Earlier versions of the maps used by the FCC overstated the existence of broadband service in many areas based on on-the-ground experience. If left uncorrected, these maps would exclude many areas that lack sufficient broadband access from being eligible for additional federal funding.
Wicker's legislation required providers to submit more granular coverage data, allowed for the crowdsourcing of data, and created a challenge process for the public to dispute inaccurate data submitted to the FCC.