NCTA: Crowdsourcing Broadband Data Should Only be 'Supplement'

NCTA-The Internet & Television Association has told the FCC that, although it supports adding crowdsourcing to the FCC's broadband mapping toolkit, it should be more on an informal basis.

That came in a meeting between NCTA execs and top FCC staffers on NCTA's proposal to use shapefiles to collect more precise data on broadband deployment.

Related: Comcast Pushes Shapefile Broadband Mapping Regime

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has said he supports crowdsourcing info, and NCTA agrees, but as a supplement to help "refine" data.

It said that consumer feedback, like online speed test data, may not accurately represent either speed or availability, and "therefore should be used to inform future filings by providers only where it proves to be accurate."

Related: Senators Offer Shapefile Bill

The NCTA execs said they viewed consumer data and the review of that data as "more informal than, and separate from, the type of challenge process the Commission may decide to conduct in anticipation of distribution of support."

Pai announced at a Hill hearing last month that he was circulating a Report and Order for a vote at the August meeting that would provide more granular and accurate maps. He said that would mean requiring broadband providers to report "where they actually offer service below the census block level." He did not say whether that would be the shapefile approach. But he did say the FCC would also be looking to incorporate public feedback into that mapping efforts. 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.