Image of national Broadband map

Officials urge Vermonters to challenge errors in FCC’s new broadband map

The Vermont Community Broadband Board is asking Vermont residents to check their addresses on the Federal Communications Commission’s national broadband map to see if their internet speed and provider availability are reported accurately.

State broadband officials have challenged the accuracy of the map, which shows that more than 95% of Vermont households have broadband internet access. 

Herryn Herzog, communications and outreach for the broadband board, said that by reporting errors, Vermonters can help the state get the “money it deserves.” 

The state will receive at least $100 million through the federal Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program, but the federal government will distribute an additional $37.1 billion to states based on the numbers of unserved locations that appear on the FCC’s map.

Alissa Matthews, special projects director for the broadband board, said it’s not clear how much money the state could obtain by correcting the addresses, but it could be between $5,000 to $10,000 per address, which could amount to millions of additional federal dollars.

The broadband board doesn’t know exactly how many addresses are inaccurate, but, according to Matthews, an initial analysis showed about 13,000 locations with broadband availability discrepancies.

Matthews said analysts “keep finding more issues” with how data was mapped or recorded. The board is doing additional analysis and may file bulk challenges to the FCC. 

The Vermont Department of Public Service already sent one challenge to the FCC in October, pointing out that 11% of the locations in the federal database didn’t match those in Vermont’s own database. An additional 22% of addresses in the Vermont database didn’t appear in the federal database at all. 

Herzog said the state plans to file additional challenges.

Read the VTDigger article.

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