Brindisi announces rural broadband mapping solution

Rep. Anthony Brindisi

Hold your internet provider accountable and make sure you’re getting what you pay for; test your speed

Congressman Anthony Brindisi joined town officials in Floyd to announce his plan to improve rural broadband coverage and hold the Federal Communications Commission accountable for coverage gaps.

Rural America lacks consistent high-speed internet, and millions of taxpayer dollars are spent every year with little progress. The FCC has mapped the availability of broadband, but the maps are inaccurate; the FCC says if one home or business in a census tract has broadband access, they count the whole block as served. Communities across Upstate New York are underserved, but the FCC marks them as areas with good coverage.

“It’s outrageous that if you have 1,000 homes and just one of them has internet service, the FCC considers that acceptable,” Brindisi said. “Crawling internet speeds are not just inconveniences; it can hurt people’s way of life.”

Brindisi unveiled his three-point plan to fix the FCC’s coverage maps and ensure Upstate communities have better access to broadband:

  1. Speed test: Constituents can take an at-home speed test to help the FCC better understand the real speeds in rural areas. Brindisi’s office is utilizing a tool developed by Measurement Lab to collect data on speed, latency, location and internet service provider.
  2. Broadband survey: Constituents can take a broadband survey and let Brindisi’s office know if they are satisfied with their internet provider.
  3. Mail survey: Brindisi’s office will conduct a mail survey to ensure constituents with limited internet access can participate and that their voices are heard.

“For many families here, our internet service ranges from terrible to non-existent,” Brindisi said. “I need your help to collect the facts and bring the true story to Washington and the FCC. Since the FCC is doing a poor job mapping coverage that includes our rural communities, we are going to have to do it for them.”

The FCC uses broadband coverage maps in order to determine where to spend federal infrastructure dollars.

Local residents interested in participating in Brindisi’s broadband survey should visit Brindisi.house.gov/internet. There they can test their internet speeds, rate their internet provider and share customer service stories.

“Cable companies make lavish promises about speeds and accessibility, it’s time for consumers to work together to hold them accountable,” Brindisi said. “Companies like Spectrum are gouging consumers with high prices and lackluster services, this is an opportunity for customers to fight back.”

Earlier this month, Brindisi brought his fight with Spectrum to the halls of Congress when he vowed to fight to include legislative language that would hold Spectrum accountable in funding negotiations.

Brindisi’s first bill in Congress targeted companies like Spectrum for their monopolistic and harmful business tactics. Brindisi’s Transparency for Cable Consumers Act would provide better oversight of cable and internet providers and hold companies accountable that are fined by a state Public Service Commission.

Under the Transparency for Cable Consumers Act, if a cable or internet company is fined by a state Public Service Commission, it would be required to report:

  • The number of cable and broadband internet customers in each county;
  • The average cable bill and broadband internet bill amounts in each county;
  • A full accounting of all fees charged customers in each county; and
  • The average broadband internet speeds delivered in each county

“We are not going to sit by and wait for Washington to act,” Brindisi said. “Using your data and your stories, we can help fix broadband maps and bring reliable internet to our district.”

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