Next Steps in Broadband Mapping
Today marks the next step in the evolving process of the FCC’s Broadband Data Collection (BDC) map. Back in September, ISPs submitted the initial data for the locations they can serve as of June 30, 2022. Today’s data includes ISP serviceable sites as of December 31, 2022, and updates to the FCC base map.
Congress and the FCC designed an iterative process to refine the map over several cycles. At Comcast, we’re also refining our processes as we submit data for tens of millions of locations while working collaboratively with governments at all levels and the public to identify areas that aren’t yet connected to broadband so that plans are made to close the gaps.
As we noted in September, across such a huge nationwide undertaking of well over 150 million addresses total, there were bound to be some blips. We’re committed to ferreting them out and getting the most accurate maps possible.
In the meantime, we are continuing every single day to build to more homes and businesses. We added 813,000 new passings in 2021, and an additional 840,000 in 2022, which are now fully reflected in today’s submission. And we recently announced that we are further accelerating connecting more homes, by planning to pass 1 million additional new addresses in 2023, bringing the total new passings in just three years to 2.65 million homes.
Since the first of this year, we’ve announced new network expansions, investments and buildouts in Lackawanna County, PA; Plainfield, CT; Colbert County, AL; eight counties in Georgia; 19 counties in Indiana; the communities of Kingwood, Pinehurst, Prairie View, Waller, New Caney and Conroe, Texas; Chattaroy and Key Peninsula, WA – bringing our advanced network to tens of thousands of more people. New announcements like these aren’t yet reflected in the data submitted to the FCC today – another key way that the maps will be updated and improved over time.
We invest billions of dollars every year to expand and evolve our network – more than $20 billion from 2018-2022 alone, and $33 billion in the past decade. And our Xfinity 10G Network is nationwide.
We are committed to the BDC mapping process and working with stakeholders across the ecosystem to ensure that the billions of dollars Congress appropriated to get broadband in truly unserved areas gets rolled out and the deployment divide is solved.
As we close the deployment divide, we must also continue to promote digital adoption and inclusion using the funding provided by Congress for those activities, including the ACP. We know the adoption gap is much larger than the deployment gap, and without digital skills training and support, millions of people that have broadband available today may not decide to connect at home. A recent study by the National Skills Coalition showed how vital digital skills are to growing our economy, with 92% of jobs requiring them.
Accurate maps along with other support offer a generational chance to close both the deployment and adoption divides, and we look forward to continuing to work with the FCC, Congress, state governments and the public to seize this opportunity.
Sena Fitzmaurice is Senior Vice President, Government Communications.