Pai went on to correct the data in May 2019, but maintained that broadband was reaching Americans in a “reasonable and timely fashion.” The gap was considerably larger than he claimed, though. Where the Chairman initially claimed that people without access dropped from 26.1 million in late 2016 to 19.4 million a year later, there were actually 21.3 million people without fast internet service. That also doesn’t factor in concerns about inaccurate data gathering methods.
These findings don’t necessarily show the FCC was knowingly using false info. However, they at least indicates the regulator wasn’t heeding numerous red flags. The Pai-era FCC has made rural broadband one of its top priorities, committing billions to the cause, but reports like this cast doubt on its progress claims.