SHOCKING-ISP admits lying to FCC about size of network to block funding to rivals

Fri, 03 Feb 2023

Hard to believe, but at least one ISP has overstated its coverage area in order to “freeze out” other providers from possible funding for broadband expansion.
As outlined at Ars Technica, a small wireless ISP in Ohio received calls from it customers saying that the new FCC broadband map was showing that cable internet was available at their location, even though that wasn’ t the case. Ryan Grewell, founder and CEO of Smart Way Communications, decided to use the broadband map appeal process to challenge the claim by cable company Jefferson County Cable.  Grewell was surprised by the response he received. As described in Ars Technica:

One of Grewell’s challenges elicited a response from Jefferson County Cable executive Bob Loveridge, who apparently thought Grewell was a resident at the challenged address rather than a competitor.

“You challenged that we do not have service at your residence and indeed we don’t today,” Loveridge wrote in a January 9 email that Grewell shared with Ars. “With our huge investment in upgrading our service to provide xgpon we reported to the BDC [Broadband Data Collection] that we have service at your residence so that they would not allocate addition [sic] broadband expansion money over [the] top of our private investment in our plant.”

Sometimes when companies say the quiet things out loud, it reminds us that, under the current regime, America’s broadband map process is based on good-faith reporting by ISP’s.  And sometimes that’s just not what happens.