FCC Launches Broadband Data Collection Program: Broadband Breakfast

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20, 2022 — Broadband maps created using crowd-sourced data can often be more useful in planning internet access than mapping efforts led by state governments and superiors, a said a panel of broadband data experts.

Experts pointed out that state incentives and subsidy deployment alone do not lead to successful broadband deployment and that stakeholder and community engagement is critical to calculated expansion plans.

The panel was convened earlier this month as part of the Broadband Breakfast Live Online webcast series, aimed at creating dialogue on how to improve broadband mapping practices.

Unlike some statewide broadband mapping efforts that are mandated by state law, co-founder of consulting firm Breaking Point Solutions Glenn Fishbine talked about community proposals in which people who are highly connected to the area where they live collect broadband data from people they know and submit it to the government. Its GEO software is distributed by GEO Partners.

Fishbine observed areas where this produced better mapping results than bureaucratic top-down government approaches to mapping.

These methods are often much faster than states waiting for federal mapping assistance.

Likewise, collecting data on a location basis rather than just looking at census blocks is essential to mapping, especially to examine overbuilding such as disbursement of American Rescue Plan Act funds as a director Fellow of the Institute of Government at the University of Georgia. Eric McRae discussed.

Fishbine pointed out that different mapping approaches like this are unique to the data one is trying to collect – digital inequality studies may require an approach while looking at unserved areas and infrastructure in need of upgrades may require different approaches.

He also highlighted the need for the plans to be cost-effective, demonstrating the software he worked on that helps determine which infrastructure projects are most likely to win grants based on prescribed grant criteria.

Deciding which projects to pursue funding for in this way is critical because the work of grant writers is a finite resource and they cannot apply to fund every proposed project.

In the debate, Catherine deWit of the Pew Charitable Trusts Broadband Access Initiative advocated for the state’s formal broadband commitment when rolling out the infrastructure. This will ensure better opportunities for deployment in states beyond what federal grants alone will do.

Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place on Wednesdays at noon ET. You can also PARTICIPATE in the ongoing Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022, 12 p.m. ET — Best Broadband Mapping Part 1

This Broadband Breakfast Live Online event will kick off a series on how we can get better broadband mapping and data to get the most out of the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act funds. We’ll talk with policymakers, mapmakers, state officials, and those building broadband by relying on broadband cards.

Panelists for this Broadband Breakfast Live Online session:

  • Catherine deWitProject Director, The Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Eric McRaeAssociate Director, University of Georgia Institute of Government
  • Glenn FishbineCo-Founder, Breaking Point Solutions, LLC
  • Drew Clark (moderator), editor and publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Panelist Resources:

Catherine deWit leads The Pew Charitable Trusts Broadband Access Initiative, which aims to accelerate efforts to connect millions of Americans to reliable and affordable high-speed Internet. Prior to joining Pew, de Wit was a partner at Booz Allen Hamilton, where she focused on broadband deployment, organizational management and public affairs. De Wit holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and sociology from Penn State University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Pittsburgh.

Eric McRae is responsible for the Institute of Government’s Office of Information Technology Outreach Services (ITOS), which helps state and local governments integrate a wide range of geographic information system (GIS) technologies into their operations, including including parcel mapping, digitization of paper maps and integration of transportation/addressing systems. He has managed several local, state, national, and international GIS projects and initiatives and has served on and chaired numerous GIS and information technology boards and committees, including the National States Geographic Information Council. Eric was instrumental in the development of Georgia’s statewide broadband map.

Glenn Fishbine has been involved in startup technologies throughout his career, resulting in over a dozen US patents. In 2011, he co-founded Breaking Point Solutions, LLC, a technology development company that went on to develop GEO software for broadband mapping used in over a dozen states and rapid design studies performed for over 200 customers. GEO software is distributed by GEO Partners, LLC.

Drew Clark is the editor and publisher of BroadbandBreakfast.com and a nationally respected telecommunications attorney. Drew brings together experts and practitioners to advance the benefits of broadband. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, he spearheaded a State Broadband Initiative, the Partnership for a Connected Illinois. He is also president of the Congress of Rural Telecommunications.

WATCH HERE, or on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, FREE webcasts will take place Wednesday at 12:00 PM ET.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. This way you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

Check out the full list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

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