Inaccurate maps delay bipartisan infrastructure law broadband funding

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Nearly nine months after Congress passed President Biden’s decision, the federal government has yet to allocate any of the $42.5 billion in legislation funding set aside to expand broadband service in communities. underserved, according to . By law, the Commerce Department can’t release that money until the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) releases new coverage maps that more accurately show homes and businesses that don’t have access. high speed internet.

Inaccurate coverage data has long derailed the federal government’s efforts to close the rural broadband gap. The previous system used by the FCC to map Internet availability relied on Form 477 filings from service providers. These documents are known for their . In 2020, Congress began asking the FCC to collect more robust coverage data as part of the . However, it wasn’t until early 2021 that lawmakers funded the mandate and in August of the same year that the Commission issued its .

Following a dispute with a contractor, the FCC will release its final maps around mid-November. Once available, consumers and businesses will have the opportunity to challenge the agency’s data. As a result of this additional step, funding for the broadband plan is unlikely to start flowing to ISPs until late 2023, according to one analyst. The newspaper interviewed.

“We understand the urgency of getting broadband to everyone quickly,” said Alan Davidson, head of the Commerce Department’s unit responsible for fund allocation. Log. “We also know we have a chance and we want to make sure we do it right.”

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