The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released a new location-based national broadband map. This map is being used to determine eligibility for various broadband grant funding opportunities.
Currently this map shows that Gratiot County is nearly 100 percent covered by broadband access.
In reviewing the FCC maps, many residents, businesses, and others have found that few adequate, affordable options are available.
Gratiot County has found that while many companies have claimed to currently provide Internet services to a home or business, service is non-existent or underperforming in many areas. Furthermore, those services that may claim to be available via cellular towers, fixed wireless, or satellite have tied high monthly costs and marginal speeds to them.
Since high-speed internet is not accessible to many rural businesses and homes in Gratiot County, it is important that all citizens and businesses check their home and/or business addresses on the broadband map to ensure it accurately reflects their level of internet access.
Gratiot County’s mostly rural broadband infrastructure still lags behind many other similarly populated areas. Michigan itself is in the bottom 15% of states with rural Internet access. Unfortunately, the maps released by the FCC don’t paint an accurate picture of connectivity in Gratiot County. The maps are based on data provided to the FCC by internet service providers (ISPs) and the FCC is relying on individual citizens and business to challenge the maps.
Once maps are successfully challenged and corrected, the amended areas can become eligible for federal funding given to the states to construct or upgrade new areas of Internet service.
Individual residents, home-based businesses, and businesses located in Gratiot County can file an individual challenge through the FCC Website.
Gratiot County urgently requests all residents and businesses go to the FCC webpage to view alleged Internet services. If residents do not have access to the Internet, Gratiot County encourages them to utilize local libraries and their public-use computers to file a possible challenge. A public workstation is also available for use for this purpose on the first floor of the Gratiot County Courthouse (214 E. Center St. Ithaca, Mich.) near the information technology office.
To ensure an accurate map is used for funding decisions, all challenges must be submitted by January 13, 2023.
What You Can Do
Here’s how residents and business owners can access the FCC broadband map:
Visit broadbandmap.fcc.gov, type in an address, and see if the reported coverage is accurate. You can access the site from a computer or a mobile device.
Residents and businesses can submit a challenge by clicking “Location Challenge” if the location of their home or business is missing or incorrect, or “Availability Challenge” if the internet service information is incorrect.
Residents and businesses should visit the website of any ISP that claims to serve their location and use the ISP’s website’s “Check Availability” or similar tool to determine if the provider can serve their location.
If the provider does not service the location, a screenshot of their website can be submitted to the FCC as evidence for an Availability Challenge.
If you have contacted an ISP and have been told that service is not available to your location or at a cost beyond their standard service activation fees, you should file an “Availability Challenge” and provide any supporting information you may have.
FCC Directions on how to Challenge the FCC Broadband Map
YouTube Demonstration of how to Challenge the FCC Broadband Map