The Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, has finally unveiled the new map made to show U.S. consumers what type of cellular coverage they can get at a certain area from major networks such as T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and US Cellular.
The FCC Shows New Broadband Map
The agency aims to show the gaps in broadband coverage in each area. In March 2020, a law known as the DATA Act was signed. The law requires that broadband maps are made for accurate representation.
For years, the lack of details regarding broadband coverage caused confusion and a digital divide among states. It also caused people to sign up for services that do not suit their needs, according to Quartz.
Jessica Rosenworcel, the FCC acting chairwoman, admitted that the map is not based on the data that the agency collected or crowdsourced. Instead, the data was given by the carriers.
The carriers have received backlash from the public as they have not been transparent about the broadband services that they provide in each area.
The map lets users choose which carrier's coverage map they want to see, and it gives them information about the voice coverage, the LTE coverage, or both.
The FCC stated that its Broadband Data Task Face created the map, and it is user-friendly, according to The Verge.
Users won't have to go over the coverage maps of T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon one by one as they can see all of them in one place as they are overlaid on top of each other, according to Engadget.
The map also explains the difference between voice availability and data availability, which is useful for consumers. Hence, they know when they can make a call and when they can go online based on the area that they are in.
However, the map does not include the data about 5G coverage or the broadband speed that they get. If a carrier provides an area with 100Mbps speeds and another carrier provides 10Mbps speeds, that isn't reflected on the map.
The FCC is working on adding the broadband speed on the map so users will know if they are getting at least 25Mbps, which is the standard speed.
Rosenworcel also stated that to qualify for a 4G data coverage, a network has to have at least 5Mbps down and 1Mbps up.
The FCC also wants to redefine high-speed broadband internet to 10Mbps down and 2.9Mpbs up.
The FCC acting chairwoman also added that the map is only the first step into improving the information available to the public. It lets consumers know the minimum of what they should expect in a specific area, allowing them to decide which cellular provider works better for them.
5G Network Roll-out
The updated map came after several carriers announced that they would begin rolling out the 5G network in several cities in the United States.
AT&T introduced its 5G network back in 2017 at a CES event and talked about expanding the service into other industries. In April, the carrier provided Delta Air Lines with 19,000 iPhone 12 phones to test out its 5G network.
In 2019, Verizon launched its 5G coverage in Nashville and Akron. In 2020, Verizon confirmed that its 5G network is already available in 60 cities in the country, and this year, the company is working on expanding it to more areas.
This article is owned by Tech Times
Written by Sophie Webster