In early March, the FCC released a new round of “Fixed Broadband Deployment Data” based on Internet providers’ reports for June 2019. The agency updated its interactive broadband map with the new information, which includes the “maximum advertised” download and upload speed offered by each provider to at least one residence in each U.S. Census block.
This new FCC deployment data still suffers from all the same problems as earlier releases, including the fact that it systematically overstates the places where higher-speed broadband is actually available.
But there’s another way of looking at that fact: It means that If the FCC map tells us that a provider only offers slow Internet service to homes in a particular Census block (or no service at all), we can be pretty confident that it’s true!
And that brings us to AT&T in Cleveland.
Here’s a screen capture from the FCC’s updated map showing most of the city of Cleveland, plus some adjacent suburbs including East Cleveland. The green areas of the map are all the Census blocks where AT&T reported offering fixed Internet (ADSL, VDSL and/or fiber to the home) at maximum download speeds of 10 Mbps or more.
The areas that aren’t green are Census blocks where AT&T admits that its fastest available download speed, as of last June, was still only 6 Mbps or less.
As you can see, large parts of some East Side neighborhoods, and some of the Near West Side too, are still stuck with AT&T’s old ADSL connections, with top download speeds between 1.5 and 6 Mbps and upload speeds of just 300-600 Kbps.
This is very important at this moment, because:
- 6 Mbps Internet service or slower (especially combined with AT&T’s very slow upload speeds) is not enough for Cleveland students who are stuck at home by COVID-19 school closings to use video applications to do their classwork and. communicate with teachers
- 6 Mbps Internet service or slower (especially when it’s unreliable ADSL service) isn’t enough for homebound Clevelanders to use their healthcare providers’ video telehealth applications for safe access to medical care.
CYC has continued to monitor AT&T’s deployment of fiber in the neighborhoods that were “digitally redlined” in earlier broadband upgrades. There are parts of the near West Side, Collinwood and Buckeye-Woodland where AT&T is now offering fiber to the home (AT&T Fiber) to blocks that previously had only very slow ADSL. As far as we can tell, these recent upgrades are all captured in the FCC’s new data.
But despite having hung fiber on their poles all over Hough, Glenville, Fairfax, the western part of Buckeye-Woodland, etc., more than a year ago, AT&T has yet to install the local “PFPs” (fiber splitter cabinets) needed to provide fiber service to homes in these neighborhoods. There’s no indication that they’re planning to do so any time soon. So thousands of East Side residents (and many West Siders as well) are still stuck with the ridiculously slow AT&T speeds shown by the FCC’s map.
Here are three additional screen captures from the same FCC map, with closer views of the West, Southeast and Northeast sections of Cleveland. Remember: The areas that aren’t green are Census blocks where AT&T admits that its fastest available download speed, as of last June, was still only 6 Mbps or less.
Cleveland Near West Side Census blocks with AT&T wireline download speeds of 10 Mbps or more, June 2019:
Cleveland Southeast Side Census blocks with AT&T wireline download speeds of 10 Mbps or more, June 2019:
Cleveland Northeast Side Census blocks with AT&T wireline download speeds of 10 Mbps or more, June 2019: