Step One Is Identifying Precise Location Of All Households
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Hearn
PITTSBURGH, July 17, 2018 – The American Cable Association explained in comments to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) that to map the availability of broadband service in the U.S., the government must first determine the precise location of all U.S. households.
In comments filed yesterday with NTIA, ACA pointed out that a fundamental problem with the current broadband mapping effort is that the government lacks complete and error-free datasets showing the precise location of all U.S. households. And, ACA noted, until this basic problem is addressed, policy makers cannot ensure universal and affordable broadband availability.
“Without complete information about the locations of U.S. households, there is no way to determine all locations that are unserved, even though ACA members and other wireline broadband providers provide data about where they make service available. And without knowing the households where broadband is not available, there is no way to develop effective policies to reach those housing units,” ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.
A division of the Commerce Department, NTIA is the Executive Branch agency that is principally responsible for advising President Donald J. Trump on telecommunications and information policy issues.
ACA members help draw the broadband map by providing the government with information about where they make their service available. ACA members fill out Federal Communications Commission Form 477 biennially, providing broadband deployment data on a census block basis. Yet, ACA knows of no existing database that has a complete listing of all U.S. households by address or by latitude and longitude of the premise. In other words, the government knows where broadband is, but not where it’s not.
In terms of crafting solutions, ACA believes that NTIA could work with county and other local government agencies to obtain data that identifies all the parcels (discrete land holdings) in the area, some of which have residences or buildings and others of which are empty. This information then could be meshed with U.S. Postal Service (USPS) address data to derive a relatively complete list of locations by address.
This information should then be published by the NTIA for use by others. Of course, these data sets will change regularly, and NTIA will need to re-examine them annually to ensure they are up to date.
About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing about 800 smaller and medium-sized, independent companies that provide broadband, phone and video services to nearly 8 million customers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA’s members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their business. For more information, visit: https://acaconnects.org/