Spanberger applauds FCC decision to improve rural broadband
Yesterday, the FCC announced a new process to collect broadband internet data, create more accurate coverage maps, and better identify where broadband service is lacking. The FCC also recognized the “immediate need” to improve broadband deployment data—so that underserved rural communities can focus on expanding local broadband infrastructure to the families, farms, and businesses that need it most.
“A lack of reliable broadband internet in our rural communities makes it harder for businesses to attract new customers, students to finish their homework, and family farms to deploy the latest cutting-edge technology. And for too long, the FCC’s coverage maps have made it extremely difficult to pinpoint the areas that are affected by this digital divide, which means the long-term economic security of our rural communities suffers,” said Spanberger. “I’m encouraged by the FCC’s outward commitment to increasing connectivity and addressing the inaccuracies within current maps. This announcement is a step in the right direction as we work to fix our miserable mapping system, but rural America needs to see more than a press release—it needs to see results. I’ll be closely following the implementation of this decision, and I won’t be afraid to hold the FCC accountable if Central Virginia doesn’t see noticeable inroads toward improved coverage maps.”
Currently, the FCC generates maps highlighting which geographic areas have access to reliable broadband internet. These maps are used in a variety of ways, including to award funding and subsidies for broadband expansion. However, these maps have been found to be inaccurate and unreliable—and these mapping errors leave many rural communities ineligible for current federal investment to expand broadband infrastructure.
Since arriving in the U.S. House, Spanberger has worked to increase federal support for broadband infrastructure, address issues with connectivity mapping, and raise awareness about the negative effects of limited high-speed internet access in Central Virginia’s rural communities. Last April, the U.S. House passed Spanberger’s amendment to improve broadband internet coverage data and identify rural communities eligible for new broadband infrastructure development.