Data from Microsoft suggests that the FCC’s data on U.S. broadband usage is far from accurate. Just because high-speed service may be available, it doesn’t mean that most people can afford it. It also shows how just one person using broadband can skew the results when their neighbors are not, causing the area to be marked as receiving broadband. The Verge has created a map based on Microsoft’s data and broke it down by county for each state, which shows that poorer communities may have access but are not using it.
The disparity between FCC reports and the Microsoft data can be shocking. In Lincoln County, Washington, an area west of Spokane with a population just a hair over 10,000, the FCC lists 100 percent broadband availability. But according to Microsoft’s data, only 5 percent of households are actually connecting at broadband speeds.