Version 3 of the FCC broadband map has been released publicly. The map is based on data filed by providers reflecting broadband availability as of June 30.
According to FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel, the number of locations lacking high-speed broadband nationwide dropped to 7.2 million from 8.3 million in version 2, which was based on December 31, 2022 data. That’s a drop of more than 13% over the six-month period.
“Providers are connecting more locations to high-speed internet services thanks to the commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund and Connect America Fund, in addition to other federal, state and privately funded program and projects,” said Rosenworcel in a blog post.
The new map also reflects the results of 4.8 million challenges to provider-reported data and over 1.5 million accepted location challenges, Rosenworcel said.
Location challenges involve the database of broadband serviceable locations, into which providers enter availability data every six months. Challenges to the provider-reported data are known as availability challenges.
Rosenworcel did not detail what percentage of the accepted location challenges involved adding locations and what percentage involved removing locations. But she noted that the number of broadband serviceable locations is up to 115 million, an increase of 800,000 since version 2.
According to Rosenworcel’s blog post, the FCC doesn’t expect to add many missing locations for version 4, other than newly constructed locations. Version 4 will be based on broadband availability as of the end of 2023 and location data from several months earlier.
To put things in perspective, nearly 3 million broadband serviceable locations were added and nearly 2 million were removed between version 1 and version 2 of the map for a net gain of 1 million locations.
The $42.5 billion BEAD rural broadband funding program will be administered by individual states under the direction of NTIA. State allocations for the BEAD program were based on version 2 of the FCC map.
The updated map is available at this link.