Public Knowledge Urges FCC to Get Better Data on the Digital DivideDecember 9, 2019
Today, Public Knowledge filed reply comments on the Federal Communications Commission’s recent Notice of Inquiry concerning its annual investigation into broadband deployment. Public Knowledge argues that millions of Americans still lack access to high-speed broadband and that the FCC still has much to do to close the digital divide.
The following can be attributed to Lindsay Stern, Policy Fellow at Public Knowledge:
“The FCC’s annual Broadband Deployment Report is a critical data source for the Commission, policymakers, and consumers to understand the full scale of the digital divide in this country. If we fail to accurately identify who has access to broadband in America, we will fail to find proper policy solutions for closing the digital divide, resulting in further disparities in education, healthcare, and economic opportunity.
“While the Commission estimates that over 21 million Americans lack broadband access, other studies suggest much higher numbers. The FCC’s current data collection process is so flawed that the Commission itself does not know the exact numbers of unserved Americans. This is unacceptable. The FCC needs to reform its current data collection process to more accurately reflect the current status of broadband in this country. This includes requiring broadband providers to submit accurate and more granular information on actual speeds and pricing data to the FCC. More transparency will mean better policies for consumers.
“While conducting its upcoming Report, we ask the FCC to put consumers first, especially those in rural and low-income communities who cannot afford to be left behind in the digital age. If the future is 5G, the Commission must first ensure that all Americans have access to broadband or else the digital divide will grow even wider.”
You may view the comments here.