June 18, 2024

This Week in Amateur Radio

North America's Premiere Amateur Radio News Magazine

Microsoft tires of waiting on FCC, creates its own broadband mapping tool

Microsoft has long been a critic of the FCC’s broadband maps, and today the cloud giant released its own new interactive tool to help identify places in the United States that are unserved and underserved.

The tool was created by Microsoft’s Chief Data Science Officer Juan Lavista Ferres and the Microsoft AI for Good Lab. It aggregates public data from the Census Bureau, the FCC, BroadbandNow and Microsoft’s own broadband usage data. It goes census tract by census tract, examining 20 different indicators of digital equity – such as broadband access, usage, education and poverty rates. This data provides an aggregated score of digital inequity in the community.

Microsoft said its tool is necessary because of the inadequacies of the FCC’s maps. It gave the example of Ferry County, Washington, where the FCC claims that only 0.4% of households lack access to broadband. But according to Microsoft, 97% of the county is not using the internet at broadband speeds and more than a third of households don’t have a desktop or laptop to use the broadband available to them.

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