Well, it seems that the data gap is growing with each passing day between the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) and Microsoft, with Microsoft calling for better data from the FCC to get a clearer picture of where the broadband has been deployed across the country and how many are using it. The data is used both to determine whether the FCC needs to regulate to boost deployment, and also on where to use the billions allocated in broadband subsidies.
Chief Data Analytics Officer, John Kahan, in Microsoft’s blog post says, “Despite the importance of this issue, we are not making very much progress in closing the broadband gap. In the past five years, there’s been more than $22 billion in subsidies and grants to carriers to sustain, extend and improve broadband in rural America. But adoption has barely budged.”
Microsoft came out strongly against the inaccuracies in the report which is meant to document broadband availability in the country. The company said that based on various online services, it came to totally different conclusions than the FCC.
The blog further adds that on Wednesday the Senate Commerce Committee will look into the reasons why the progress has lagged and one of the main reasons for this sluggish growth is the inaccurate broadband mapping data that vastly undercounts the number of Americans without access to broadband.
The blog notes that the number of Americans as suggested by the FCC with lack of access to a broadband connection is nearly 25 million, which the company believes is not in line with the fact the number of Americans with broadband access is much higher.
According to Microsoft, 162.8 million people are not using the internet at broadband speeds and the results align well with the FCC’s broadband subscription data and the Pew Research numbers, which suggest these data sets, are far closer to the mark then the broadband access data reported by the FCC. This again brings to fore that there is no authentic source of broadband coverage data in the United States.
“These significant discrepancies can be found in nearly all counties in all 50 states and it indicates that there is a problem with the accuracy of the access data reported by the FCC,” concludes Kahan.