New York state is challenging the accuracy of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) broadband data and has submitted more than 31,000 unserved or underserved addresses from across the state under the FCC’s Broadband Data Collection challenge process.

The data in question is used to create the FCC’s broadband maps, which are used to allocate Federal funding to expand broadband access. The Federal challenge process, which allows states to propose changes or updates to the FCC’s broadband maps, is a critical step in determining New York’s funding allocation for broadband from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

New York’s challenge was made possible due to the state’s interactive broadband map, which was launched earlier this year, and contains street-level information about the state’s broadband infrastructure. The challenge could increase New York’s eligibility for a key source of IIJA funding by as much as 40 percent depending on determinations by the FCC and Commerce Department.

“Affordable, reliable broadband is an absolute necessity for accessing work, education, and important government services, and we can no longer afford to treat it like a luxury,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a press release.

“Thanks to our first-of-its-kind broadband mapping tool we have a clearer picture than ever about New York’s broadband needs and we are better able to advocate for federal funding and program support to fill those gaps,” the governor said. “My administration remains committed to ensuring that families and businesses are well-connected to broadband, and I look forward to a continued partnership with local, state, and federal authorities to make high-speed internet available to all New Yorkers.”

The governor’s office explained that the Commerce Department is expected to begin disbursing broadband funding from the IIJA to states and territories in late 2023 based largely on the proportion of unserved and underserved homes and businesses in each state, using maps created by the FCC. In preparation for distributing the funding, the FCC has begun by issuing a “map fabric” that is meant to include all addresses in the country. The FCC shared the data with all states and other stakeholders to challenge and improve.

In its challenge, New York submitted 31,798 addresses identified as unserved or underserved by the state Department of Public Service’s (DPS) Broadband Assessment Program. The challenge also includes evidence that the addresses meet the FCC’s definition for inclusion in the Federal map. The challenge was put together by DPS, the ConnectALL Office, and the Office of Information Technology Services (ITS).

“As we look to make broadband more affordable, accessible, and equitable, accurate maps are essential for the proper allocation of federal funding,” said Hope Knight, CEO and Commissioner of Empire State Development. New York State’s broadband mapping project provides clear and straightforward data on the State’s digital infrastructure and, by aligning the FCC maps with ours, we will ensure New York gets its fair share of federal dollars so every New Yorker has access to the internet when and where they need it.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs