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United Way of Lancaster County


Is the FCC’s new broadband map accurate? If not, Pa., Lancaster County could lose out

A screenshot of the Federal Communication Commission’s National Broadband Map. (Source:

Does this map accurately reflect your household’s access to broadband Internet service?

If it doesn’t, state officials and local advocates are urging you to file a challenge with the Federal Communications Commission.

The interactive map, known as the National Broadband Map, represents the FCC’s latest and most granular effort to identify local internet service levels. It’s accuracy is critical, because it will be used to allocate at least $100 million in federal infrastructure grants to improve broadband access in Pennsylvania, part of a $65 billion nationwide allocation from the infrastructure law President Biden signed into law last year.

The map suggests that 98% of Lancaster County has access to Internet with at least 25Mbps download speeds and 3Mbps upload speeds. Local experts don’t agree.

Click to enlarge. (Source: Center for Rural Pa.)

A study conducted in 2021 by the Center for Rural analysis found that 27% of Lancaster County users lacked access to download speeds of at least 25 Mbps.

Similarly, a study commissioned by the Economic Development Co. of Lancaster County found at least 11,000 county addresses lacked access to broadband, and possibly as many as 17,700.

Click to enlarge. (Source: EDC of Lancaster County)

The EDC’s study identified large swaths of southeast and southwest Lancaster County as having limited access. Other small and medium-sized pockets were found countywide.

The FCC’s map can be searched by address. People should check the information for their business or residence, and file a challenge if it isn’t accurate, said Ezra Rothman, the EDC’s director of strategic initiatives and partnerships.

Pennsylvania’s Broadband Development Authority is putting out the same call.

“I encourage all Pennsylvanians to review the FCC broadband access map and provide corrections,” its executive director, Brandon Carlson, said in a statement.

How to file a challenge

Challenges can be submitted individually via the map, or in bulk via the Broadband Data Collection platform.

Consumers can challenge assessments of mobile data service using the FCC’s Speed Test App, which can be downloaded for free from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.

The deadline for challenges is Friday, Jan. 13. For more information on individual challenges, click here; for bulk challenges, click here.

For more information

Pennsylvania’s Broadband Development Authority is hosting two webinars in partnership with Penn State Extension to discuss the FCC’s National Broadband Map and the challenge process. To learn more and to register, click the links below: