NTEN calls on FCC to address inaccuracies in National Broadband Map

Illustrated buildings with WiFi symbols sit on a blue background. The text reads, "Tell the FCC: Fix the National Broadband Map."
Dec 14, 2022
2 minute read
Digital Inclusion

Our Digital Inclusion Fellowship has supported 95 community leaders in launching and expanding digital literacy and technology access programs in local communities, building power with regional coalitions, and supporting direct training for nearly 50,000 people. Fellows have been in major metropolitan areas, suburbs, and rural locations. Yet, regardless of the location, we’ve consistently seen first-hand the necessity of connecting and collaborating with multifamily residential housing (MDUs) and Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs) because of their unique needs and dynamics when it comes to fully understanding and addressing digital access equitably.

NTEN and over 100 other diverse organizations call on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take urgent action to ensure unserved households in MDUs and CAIs are correctly designated in the recently released FCC National Broadband Map.

“The FCC National Broadband Map is critical to allocating over $65 billion in broadband funding to states established in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and closing the broadband affordability gap,” said Evan Marwell, Founder and CEO of EducationSuperHighway. “Unfortunately, more work is needed to ensure we account for 20-25% of the digital divide that resides in multifamily housing. Currently, the maps consider a multifamily building to be a single location, which fails to accurately identify whether every individual unit is being served.”

The group outlines that the households impacted by these data inaccuracies are among the most digitally disconnected in America, located in high-poverty areas where connectivity has historically been neglected. They also raise concerns that the proposed map will not correctly identify the broadband available to CAIs that under-resourced households rely on for essential services and support. The Broadband Serviceable Location (BSL) Fabric (Fabric), which is intended to identify the individual locations that broadband providers serve, generally treats CAIs as not “broadband serviceable locations.” In their letter to the FCC, the group requests that thousands of libraries, health clinics, houses of worship, and other CAIs that purchase mass market services, be included in both the Fabric and the final version of the map.

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Amy Sample Ward

Amy Sample Ward

they/them

CEO, NTEN

Amy is driven by a belief that the nonprofit technology community can be a movement-based force for positive change. Their prior experience in direct service, policy, philanthropy, and capacity-building organizations has fueled Amy's work to create meaningful, inclusive, and compassionate community engagement and educational opportunities for organizations around the world. As the CEO of NTEN, Amy inspires the NTEN team and global partners to believe in community-generated change. Amy believes technology can help nonprofits reach their missions more effectively and equitably, but doing so takes intention and investment in training, access, and collaboration.

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