If you have crappy broadband in your area, the FCC would like to hear about it. The agency is collecting information about broadband availability in the U.S., and it wants input from actual consumers.
Previously, the FCC had relied on data internet providers. But as anyone who’s ever dealt with internet providers will know, that information isn’t always representative of how their services perform. Which is why the FCC is coming straight to you.
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“Far too many Americans are left behind in access to jobs, education, and healthcare if they do not have access to broadband”, said Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in an official statement (opens in new tab). “Collecting data from consumers who are directly affected by the lack of access to broadband will help inform the FCC’s mapping efforts and future decisions about where service is needed”.
Take note. We're going straight to consumers. https://t.co/bZzsFo46apMarch 22, 2021
How to make your complaint to FCC
Head over to the FCC’s consumer complaints center, and fill out this form (opens in new tab) to make your voice heard. Whatever your misgivings with your local broadband, be it poor choice, high costs, slow speeds, or something else entirely, now is your chance to tell the people who might actually be able to do something about it.
Because you could complain to your provider, but who has the time to spend all day on the phone and get absolutely nowhere?
You just need to be able to describe the problem in three to five sentences, and provide your name, state, ZIP code, phone number, and any attachments you feel might help the FCC better understand what you’re saying.
The point is to compare data to the FCC’s existing broadband maps, which have frequently been criticized. That's because they are based on data collected by internet providers, who have been accused of using sketchy methods (opens in new tab) that overstate their service coverage.
Those maps are designed to help the FCC work out exactly how to regulate broadband across the U.S., as well as figure out which internet projects need subsidizing. So they need to be accurate to be effective, and by going to the people the FCC hopes to get a better picture of what’s happening. The regulator will also be going to state and local governments to supplement the information, in addition to continuing to collect data from internet providers.
The FCC hasn’t said how else it will use the information, but naturally the agency can’t try and improve national broadband speeds if it doesn’t know where the problematic areas are. That’s important enough to get involved.
So if you have crappy internet, are forced to pay for an expensive connection or have some other internet issue, be sure to make your voice heard.