The Federal Communications Commission has finally announced updated mobile broadband internet coverage map, giving consumers a long-needed tool to find out what mobile network coverage they can expect in any area across the United States
The interactive tool displays 4G LTE broadband data and mobile voice coverage of the four largest national operators: AT&T, T-Mobile, UScellular and Verizon. The data you see is correct as of May 15, 2021, according to the FCC Media Release Friday. Users can set up different coverage maps for different operators to compare all the information in one place, as well as differentiate data availability and voice availability.
“This is the first public map showing updated mobile coverage released by the FCC and represents a significant improvement over other data previously released by the agency,” the agency said, adding that it will “improve the uniformity and consistency of broadband access data. collected by the FCC. ”
However, it is worth noting that the FCC also said that it created the map using data provided voluntarily by the above carriers, which do not have big record to report on their own reporting. This is not the only conspicuous problem. The tool does not deal with the scope of availability of home internet, the leading concern of the so-called Digital division, or the gap between residents who have access to affordable and reliable Internet services and those who do not. Not all 5G models of every mobile operator are reflected.
It also lacks the speed that users can expect on any network. Acting FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said tool launch note to qualify as 4G data coverage, the network must provide at least 5Mbps download speeds and 1Mbps transfer speeds. Currently, however, there is no way to determine on a map whether the coverage of carriers in any area squeaks closely next to these scales or exceeds them multiple times.
So it’s a step forward, but hardly longlate one. The the law which prompted the creation of this map, last year’s Broadband Accuracy and Technology Availability Act required the FCC to improve the accuracy of its broadband availability maps because conflicting and outdated data has hampered efforts to bridge the digital divide for years. Among other requests, the agency was ordered to collect and publish more robust data on wired, fixed wireless and satellite broadband providers, as well as to establish a multi-user process to collect information from the public.
Now that the tool is active, that process of mass engagement will be more activated, the FCC said on Friday. Once the background has gone through some final verification processes, consumers, together with state and local authorities, will be able to “provide information based on real-world experience” to improve the accuracy of the tool in the long run.
“A good map is one that changes over time,” Rosenworcel said in a press release. “Today’s new map represents progress in our efforts to implement the Broadband Data Act and build a new generation of broadband maps that can help connect 100 percent of Americans. By using improved systems and data, we can provide better information about where broadband is located, not across the country. ”
In her note, Rosenworcel said this map is “the first in a series of efforts” that offers consumers a clearer understanding of network coverage across the country.