As homes in the United States are increasingly connected via tablets, laptops and smart devices, fast broadband Internet access has become a big problem. The FCC currently claims that only 25 million Americans do not have access to broadband Internet, but Microsoft is now challenging the number. The company claims that more than half of the US population – or 162.8 million people – does not use the Internet at 25 Mbps broadband speeds.
According to Microsoft, the discrepancy between its anonymous data and FCC data is due to the way the FCC collects data for broadband mapping. First, Microsoft claims that the 477 form sent by ISPs to the FCC to help collect broadband data is too broad. A simple "yes" to "supply or could … without an extraordinary commitment of resources provide a broadband service to an area" question on the form is used to indicate whether an area of the United States it is covered by broadband Internet. Second, Microsoft believes that FCC data on broadband access is not location-specific. For example, if a person has access to broadband, the entire block is counted as a service.
As an example of FCC broadband mapping, Microsoft cites two communities in the United States. In Ferry County, Washington, the FCC reports that 100% of residents have broadband Internet access. However, according to Microsoft data collected as part of improving its services, only 2% of residents actually have broadband. Furthermore, in Tishomingo County, Michigan, the FCC reports that approximately 97.1% of residents have broadband Internet access, but Microsoft data shows only 3.6%.
"These datasets are much closer to the brand of broadband access data reported by the FCC and leave us with the ineluctable conclusion that today there is no accurate, complete and public estimate of broadband coverage in the United States," he said. claimed Microsoft.
To resolve this issue, Microsoft is calling the FCC to remove "may provide" from the 477 module. In addition, Microsoft wishes the FCC to use both availability and actual use and subscription data in its mapping. Finally, Microsoft is asking the FCC to resolve issues related to collecting data on availability and reports before releasing new broadband reports.