By Josh Mimura, fellow, and Amy Huffman, policy director

The need for robust, accurate, and timely broadband adoption data has never been more acute. 

Through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), Congress allocated the largest investment in broadband and digital equity in history ($65 billion to be exact!). To ensure these programs are here to stay, we must have robust and accurate broadband adoption data.

Unfortunately, such broadband adoption data is not currently publicly available. Last year, the U.S. Census didn’t release the 2020 American Community Survey (ACS) 1-Year Estimates, which remain the sole nationwide dataset with community-level data on household internet adoption. 

The only other authoritative nationwide dataset on broadband adoption at the local level is the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) data collected through their twice annual data collection program known as Form 477.

The FCC uses Form 477 to collect Census tract-level data from internet service providers on the number of households served at different speed thresholds. The data is published in the FCC’s Internet Access Services Reports and is used to create national broadband adoption maps. While the maps were updated in 2021 with 2020 data, the broadband adoption data was not released.  

The importance of having robust, accurate, and timely data can not be overstated. As such, NDIA has submitted a letter urging the FCC to publish and increase the usability of its existing adoption data. 

We request that the FCC: 

  1. Release more detailed datasets.
  2. Improve the usability of the Internet Access Services map on the FCC’s website.
  3. Publish reports that contain the most up-to-date data and return to a regular bi-annual release schedule of such data.

You can read NDIA’s full letter to the FCC here.