(06/21/2019)
By Bob Weaver

U.S. telecom regulators say they are trying to fix faulty maps that don’t reflect which Americans have access to high-speed internet.

In West Virginia, the ill-begotten maps in recent years show many areas with broadband service that don't have broadband service.

So far, the feds have used the ill-begotten statistics to decide where the broadband infrastructure money should go.

Except for ballyhoo political funding, there have been little forward progress in the rural areas of West Virginia.

Lawmakers and public-interest groups have lambasted the Federal Communications Commission for inaccurate maps that overstate coverage and hinder government efforts to subsidize internet service in unserved rural areas.

Using a small dose of skepticism, we would believe that the communications companies like Frontier enjoy the tilted statistics. It takes the heat off.

A big part of the problem is how the FCC measures coverage. The country is divided into census blocks, which can stretch hundreds of square miles in rural areas. Good grief, the FCC now considers the entire block served even if just one location has broadband service.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced during a Senate hearing that he wants phone and cable companies to be more specific about where they offer service and for maps to incorporate public feedback. A vote is planned in August.

Unless the maps are corrected, the real broadband coverage remains bleak in rural areas.

Meanwhile, US and WV politicians create pennies on the dollar initiatives that say help is on the way.

In 2007, then Governor Joe Manchin said broadband will be in the Mountain State by 2010, while Sen. Shelly Moore Capito promises hope with Capito Connects.

Gov. Jim Justice is going around the state issuing mini-grants to WV counties to study the broadband problem.

Currently, a work hardy local initiative with Clay, Calhoun and Roane is attempting to help those areas, as Washington has been stalemated on any US infrastructure solutions for years, with Congress being controlled by President Donald Trumps tweets, while China has real broadband in virtually every village in their large country.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for more grand and glorious announcements.


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