Home Internet Federal data may be underestimating the number of Coloradans with inadequate internet, report says

Federal data may be underestimating the number of Coloradans with inadequate internet, report says

Federal data documenting who has adequate internet service and who doesn’t may be underestimating those who do not by more than a million people, according to a new analysis by researchers at BroadbandNow. That includes 13,000 people in Colorado. 

The problem with underestimating who has service, said Tyler Cooper, editor-in-chief of BroadbandNow, is that there’s $42.5 billion in federal funding available, and inaccuracies in the Federal Communications Commission map could lead to underserved households missing out from this one-time investment to upgrade broadband access. According to BroadbandNow’s estimate, the FCC’s 21 million people without service should actually be 22 million.

“This data is being used to shore up the final funding amount and get money into states to start deploying broadband,” Cooper said. “Much of the problem right now is these state broadband offices are trying to figure out ways they can crowdsource and pull together data to challenge the FCC maps, which everyone kind of recognizes as having an accuracy issue. Our hope is that by making this data freely available … the FCC will iteratively update (their map) to more closely resemble the sort of local data collection efforts from these state offices.” 

In June 2022, the Colorado Broadband Office estimated that 166,000 households, or 14% of urban and rural residents, did not have access to internet speeds of at least 100 mbps down and 20 mbps up. A year later, that number dropped to 160,426 households. (Colorado Broadband Roadmap)

According to the BroadbandNow analysis, Colorado’s undercount was 13,037 higher than the FCC’s count of 201,186 people with no internet. However, that made no difference in Colorado’s rank nationwide, remaining at 31st. 

According to the Colorado Broadband Office, 91.9% of households in the state are covered with internet download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and 20 mbps up. That leaves 160,426 households without adequate service or no service at all.

Officials from the state broadband agency said that the numbers are different. The report tracked individuals while the state tracks locations, such as an apartment. The state also goes more in depth by checking all internet providers instead of just the major ones. BroadbandNow only checked addresses against 11 major providers in the U.S. 

In a statement, the Colorado Broadband Office said, “While BroadbandNow investigated 11 major providers nationwide, Colorado has more than 120 providers. We highly recommend that anyone noticing inaccuracies at their location submit challenges to the FCC map. This is the best way to improve the data.”

Cooper’s team spent six months checking random addresses in the FCC’s map that are considered served and compared them to local internet coverage. They typed in nearly 65,000 physical addresses into the local internet provider’s “check availability” tool and found 22.1% lacked available service. 

“And our study was actually quite conservative,” Cooper said. “We used the baseline metric for broadband, which is 25 down and three up. That is changing and actually was just announced by the FCC that they’re going to be updating this benchmarked to 100 over 20.”

BroadbandNow researchers track internet speeds nationwide. At minimum, they check on 1,000 addresses per state, including Colorado. They provide consumer guides to local internet options, speeds and prices for most cities in America. The company says it strives to be independent, but does accept advertising and may earn a commission if consumers use a link to check out an internet company.  

Colorado has already been using that faster figure of download speeds of 100 megabits per second and 20 mbps up. Any Coloradan below that is considered underserved.

Last year, the federal government awarded Colorado $826.5 million to improve broadband infrastructure and get those last households adequate service.  As part of the federal Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment Program, known as BEAD, every state received $100 million with the rest portioned out based on the number of unserved or underserved users.

Nineteen states received more than $1 billion each, with Texas grabbing the most at $3.3 billion. Texas also had the highest number of people with inadequate internet service, or roughly 1.8 million.

Earlier this year, the state’s broadband agency awarded $113.5 million to 27 projects in mostly rural Colorado. The funds came from a different source, the federal Capital Projects Fund. But the state received 112 applications requesting $642 million. The hope is that those communities and local internet providers would get what they need as the BEAD program rolls out later this year.



Denial of responsibility! TechCodex is an automatic aggregator of Global media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, and all materials to their authors. For any complaint, please reach us at – [email protected]. We will take necessary action within 24 hours.
DMCA compliant image

Leave a Comment