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Digital Divide: Commission urges consumers to share Internet broadband speeds

*The Federal Communications Commission says it is crowdsourcing Speed Test app results to improve accuracy of its broadband maps towards bridging the digital divide and boosting more accurate information on broadband speeds for consumers in the United States

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In its attempt at building a comprehensive, user-friendly dataset on broadband availability and penetration for improved coverage information to consumers, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is encouraging consumers to test their broadband Internet speeds using its speed test app.

Jessica Rosenworcel, Acting Chairman of the Commission, has said doing so will help to bolster the FCC’s mission of collecting more accurate information on broadband speeds in different parts of the US, ConsumerAffairs report stated.


“To close the gap between digital haves and have nots, we are working to build a comprehensive, user-friendly dataset on broadband availability,” Rosenworcel said in a statement.

“Expanding the base of consumers who use the FCC Speed Test app will enable us to provide improved coverage information to the public and add to the measurement tools we’re developing to show where broadband is truly available throughout the United States.”

In respect of crowdsourcing speed test app data, the Commission noted that closing the digital divide has been a top priority for the FCC in recent years.

The agency is currently striving to improve the accuracy of its coverage maps in order to paint a clearer picture of where improvements are needed in the country, report said.

These maps as of now primarily, feature data from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Comcast and Verizon.

Studies have found that the FCC’s estimates of how many Americans lack access to a broadband connection starkly contrast other data.

A report indicates a 2019 study from Microsoft found that around 163 million people could not access the Internet at or above broadband speeds.

Simultaneously, the FCC had put that number at an estimated 25 million people. The agency is now asking consumers to share their broadband speeds to help enhance the accuracy of its broadband maps.

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