US telcos' best pal – yes, the FCC – urged to dump its dodgy stats, crowd-source internet speeds direct from subscribers | 2/19/2019 | Staff
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A bipartisan group of US senators are trying to force the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to face up to the reality that its statistics for broadband speeds across America aren't worth squat.

A letter from 11 legislators, including Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and James Lankford (R-OK), strongly urges Ajit Pai, boss of the nation's comms regulator, to ask actual internet users about their experience of internet services and speeds – by setting up a crowdsourcing platform that the public can submit reports to.

Data - Ability - Role - Broadband - Coverage

"We believe crowdsourced data has the ability to play an invaluable role in improving broadband coverage maps and the creation of a continuous public feedback mechanism deserves further investigation by the Commission," the letter [PDF] sent earlier this month states.

"One way the FCC may be able to do this is by allowing the use of data from consumer initiated speed tests, including commercial data sets that take advantage of such data, to help supplement Form 477 data."

Data - Decisions - Provision - Access - Reports

Currently, the data used to make all decisions surrounding the provision of internet access is based on reports that are provided by the operators themselves (Form 477). The flaws in the reporting process have been repeatedly exposed, as has the operators' creative use of those flaws to present a much more expansive and competitive market to the one that really exists on the ground.

Despite Congress, the Department of Commerce (DoC) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) all publicly and explicitly noting that the data is fundamentally flawed, the FCC has continued to pretend otherwise and has failed to take active steps to improving the situation: a peculiar reaction that has fed into the widespread perception that FCC chair Pai is biased in favor of those corporation he is supposed to be regulating.

December - FCC - Subsidy - Program

Back in December, the FCC was forced to put a subsidy program...
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