The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has released a pre-production draft of its new National Broadband Map.

The long-awaited maps will detail specific location-level information about broadband service availability across the US, with the release of the maps kicking off the public challenge processes needed in order to provide the most accurate maps possible.

USA map connectivity
– Getty Images

“Today is an important milestone in our effort to help everyone, everywhere get specific information about what broadband options are available for their homes, and pinpointing places in the country where communities do not have the service they need,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

“Our pre-production draft maps are a first step in a long-term effort to continuously improve our data as consumers, providers, and others share information with us. By painting a more accurate picture of where broadband is and is not, local, state, and federal partners can better work together to ensure no one is left on the wrong side of the digital divide.”

The regulator has been gearing up for some time to provide more reliable broadband maps for the US, with the map to be continuously altered to improve any data that is submitted by providers.

Such maps have been sought after for a long time, with prior maps being based on Form 477, which has been criticized as providing inaccurate data as it allows ISPs to count an entire census block, even if only a fraction of this area is served by the ISP.

The first draft will be based on broadband availability from data submitted by providers during the initial Broadband Data Collection filing window, up until June 30, 2022.

Operators, government, and other interested parties are able to provide feedback on the maps, the FCC added, in a bid to continually improve and refine the broadband availability data relied upon by the regulator, which is required to do so as part of the Broadband Data Act.

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