Many residents of rural Steuben County, New York, rely on satellite dishes for television because digital services are often unavailable due to unreliable internet.  File photo taken on January 28, 2019.

FCC wants your feedback on the Internet Services Map

Are you struggling with a poor internet connection at your home or workplace?

Now is the time to speak up as the federal government aims to cover more ground with faster broadband internet service in New York and around the country.

New Yorkers and U.S. residents can review their supposed high-speed internet status and providers on a proposed Federal Communications Commission broadband map, revealed last fall. If something is wrong with the level of service or the providers listed there, residents can dispute the card information.

They should do this by Friday, Jan. 13, to have the best chance of incorporating the fix into the final version of the map this year, the agency said.

How are the cards used?

FCC maps are used to track what type of internet service existed and where. But until recently, these maps broke down neighborhoods and regions by census block.

The problem? This method was not very accurate and some streets, houses or buildings fell through the cracks. Additionally, broadband improvement projects were often funded using these maps as guides, which excluded some residents, especially in rural areas, from crucial broadband initiatives.

Now, the FCC is finalizing maps that detail Internet services down to the address level. Fixed and mobile broadband service cards will be available. The broadband map will be used to inform federal funding allocation for broadband projects in the summer of 2023.

But first, the agency needs your help.

In this 2019 file photo, Liz Walrath, center, homeschools her youngest child, Liam Walrath, left.  On the right is Liz's husband, Chad, who works in the IT field and is an advocate for increased internet access in the rural community of Steuben County in Bradford.

How the challenge process works

Through the Broadband DATA Act passed in 2020, the FCC established a “challenge” process for its card projects, whereby residents can point out where broadband information listed on them is inaccurate.

Customers can submit a fixed broadband card challenge in one of two ways: a location challenge or an availability challenge.

With a location challenge, they can report when a point on the map has the wrong address listed or the wrong number of units. They can flag when a particular location contains multiple addresses, such as a multi-family home, for example.

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