No internet where you live? Bill aims to ensure the right funding gets to your state to change that

Robin Layton

May 1, 2023 — 3 min read

Time is running out to fix the flawed FCC map that is the driver behind billions in state funding allocations.

FCC broadband availability map with types of service shown as blue shading.

The National Broadband Map from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was launched in late 2022 to show U.S. areas without internet service. The map also provides the available internet type and the providers servicing a given area. 

The FCC was always under a tight deadline to make this map as accurate as possible because it is the key source in how billions in Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) funding will be allocated to states to help close the digital divide

The BEAD Program provides $42.45 billion to expand high-speed internet access with infrastructure building, planning and programming in all states. Basically, the map will be used to see what areas in what states have no internet access and the government will decide which states need the BEAD funding to fix it.

As reported to, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) “will divide the total amount of funds for the program among the states and territories based on the number of unserved locations in a state divided by the nationwide total of unserved locations, with 10 percent reserved for distribution based on the number of high-cost locations that exist within each state or territory.”

States are getting concerned enough about how accurate this map is to ask for action, as seen with Nevada and South Dakota, which have senators who introduced the Accurate Map for Broadband Investment Act at the end of March. 

The bill is “to ensure that broadband maps are accurate before funds are allocated under the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program based on those maps.” It was introduced and sent to the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on March 30. 

The newly-proposed legislation “would add seven more months to the challenge process for states and other interested parties to dispute the map’s accuracy. To ensure that broadband projects aren’t brought to a complete halt, 20% of the funding would be made available on the original timetable, delaying assignment to states of the remaining funds while more scrutiny is applied to the underlying data,” reported Ookla.

“The FCC’s failure to fix their deeply flawed broadband map and the Department of Commerce’s refusal to wait to allocate broadband funding until the map is fixed puts hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for high-speed internet in Nevada at risk,” said Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV). “My bipartisan bill would ensure the FCC can fix this map before money goes out the door so that all states receive their fair share of federal dollars to provide communities desperately needed access to high-speed internet.”

Error reporting

The pre-production draft of the map offered the ability for providers, consumers and states to send in challenges and report issues. 

In January 2023, Fierce Telecom reported, “at least 382,799 location challenges have been filed. States submitted at least an additional 30,600 availability challenges.” Fierce reports that many more states are scrambling to submit changes.

The FCC mapping of broadband availability has been fraught with issues for years, prompting even Microsoft to try its hand at internet mapping.

Robin Layton

Written by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

Robin Layton is an editor for the broadband marketplace Allconnect. She built her internet industry expertise writing and editing for four years on the site, as well as on Allconnect’s sister site … Read more