February 15, 2019

Manchin, Lankford Lead Bipartisan Letter Concerning The FCC's Broadband Coverage Maps

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and James Lankford (R-OK) led a bipartisan letter to Chairman Pai of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), advocating for a public feedback mechanism to allow consumers and states to help inform broadband coverage maps and report any lack of broadband access to the FCC.  The letter was also signed by U.S Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Angus King (I-ME), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), John Kennedy (R-LA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Doug Jones (D-AL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).

The Senators’ letter said in part, “While we are glad the FCC is trying to address some of the issues with their mapping though the ongoing Form 477 proceeding, this alone will not solve everything. As long as we continue to rely solely on carrier-reported Form 477 data, we will never have a complete picture that accurately depicts the real world experiences of Americans.” The letter continues, “We are not suggesting that crowdsourced data is perfect and that it alone will be enough to fix the greater challenges with broadband mapping, but it is an important tool we should have in the toolbox. We believe the creation of a public feedback mechanism is feasible and would be a critical first step toward creating more reliable and accurate broadband maps.”

To read the full letter, click here.

All facilities-based broadband providers are required to file Form 477 data with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) twice a year on where they offer Internet access service at speeds exceeding 200 kbps in at least one direction. The FCC measures network coverage and creates coverage maps based on this provider given Form 477 data. Senator Manchin was the only Member of Congress to submit a formal challenge to the FCC’s Mobility Fund Phase II initial eligible areas map and proved that the FCC’s coverage maps, informed only by provider given Form 477 data, do not accurately display broadband coverage, especially for rural areas. A public feedback mechanism is needed to help validate this data.