Ohio ISP fined $10,000 for overstating broadband coverage to FCC

Jefferson County Cable, a small internet service provider in Ohio, was fined $10,000 for overstating its service area to the FCC.
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Jefferson County Cable, a small internet service provider in Ohio, was fined $10,000 this month for making inaccurate claims to the Federal Communications Commission about fiber service to areas it hadn’t expanded to yet.

The FCC published a consent decree on March 15 stating it was settling with the Jefferson County Cable company of Toronto, Ohio, resolving the investigation into the company’s violations of the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technology Availability Act. In addition to the fine, the ISP was ordered to implement a compliance plan to prevent future violations.

According to the FCC, an individual challenged the ISP’s claims that it could provide broadband service to a location in Bergholz, Ohio, about 20 miles east of Toronto. The challenged location was one of nearly 1,500 locations Jefferson County Cable included in two Broadband Data Collection filings, but the company was not able to provide service to the location within 10 business days.

“Jefferson County Cable acknowledged to the bureau that it had not taken the necessary time and effort to review and understand the commission’s guidance on Broadband Data Collection filings before it made these two filings,” the FCC decree read.


Ars Technica reported that Ryan Grewell, founder of a competing Ohio ISP, heard from his customers that the FCC’s broadband map falsely claimed internet service was available to their homes through Jefferson County Cable. 

“You challenged that we do not have service at your residence and indeed we don’t today,” Jefferson County Cable executive Bob Loveridge wrote in an email to Grewell in January 2023, according to Ars Technica. “With our huge investment in upgrading our service to provide xgpon we reported to the [Broadband Data Collection] that we had 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.”

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