Improving the accuracy of broadband mapping | Editorial

Submitted by Association of Washington Cities’ Advocacy Group.

The Federal Communications Commission released a pre-production draft of its new National Broadband Map. The map shows where internet service is – and is not – available, down to your residents’ neighborhood and home. This draft map release kicks off the public challenge process that will play a critical role in improving the accuracy of the map and bring needed funding for broadband to Washington—which is particularly important in unserved and underserved communities, and disadvantaged communities.

The FCC’s current mapping comes from internet service providers’ reports of where they make internet services available, which may not be fully accurate. Your residents can dispute and challenge map information that they believe is inaccurate.

The challenge process is an important step in the FCC’s broadband data collection effort since most of the broadband money in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) will use a formula based off of map data. Cities should start working with their communities now to help ensure that accurate mapping data is reported.

Cities should start working with their communities now to help ensure that accurate mapping data is reported.

Next steps for community engagement

Share this information with your communities, local partners, and anchor institutions (such as local businesses and libraries) to generate widespread participation in the challenge process. Washington needs wide participation from residents and business owners from every corner of the state.

The accuracy of the final FCC maps will directly impact Washington’s federal broadband funding allocation in the coming years and support cities to increase connectivity for our residents. It’s also critical that your underserved and disadvantaged communities are engaged to ensure their reported broadband coverage is accurately captured and reflected in the maps. Challenges should be filed no later than Jan. 13. Here’s how to get started:

Guide your residents to view the maps at

Search for a home address to find information about the fixed and mobile services that internet providers report.

If the fixed internet services shown on the map are not actually available at the user’s location, they may file a challenge with the FCC directly through the map interface to correct the information.

Map users can also correct information about their location and add their location to the map if it is missing.

The draft map also allows users to view the mobile wireless coverage reported by cellular service providers.

The FCC also launched an updated version of the FCC Speed Test App to enable users to quickly compare the performance and coverage of their mobile networks to that reported by their provider. The app allows users to submit their mobile speed test data in support of a challenge to a wireless service provider’s claimed coverage. New users can download the FCC Speed Test App in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Existing app users should update the app to gain these new features.

Helpful resources:

A video tutorial and more information on how to submit challenges is available at

For more information about the BDC, please visit the Broadband Data Collection website at

How to submit an availability challenge – YouTube