The National Broadband Map, released by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on Feb. 17, reveals that while the majority of schools are connected to the internet, those connection speeds are not meeting the needs of students and teachers.
NTIA created the National Broadband Map in collaboration with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), using data that each state, territory, and the District of Columbia (or their designees) collected from broadband service providers or other data sources.
“The National Broadband Map shows there are still too many people and community institutions lacking the level of broadband service needed to fully participate in the internet economy. We are pleased to see the increase in broadband adoption last year, particularly in light of the difficult economic environment, but a digital divide remains,” said Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling. “Through NTIA’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, digital literacy activities, and other initiatives, including the tools we are releasing today, the Obama Administration is working to address these challenges.”
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The website resulting from this federal-state partnership includes more than 25 million searchable records showing where broadband service is available, the technology used to provide the service, the maximum advertised speeds of the broadband service, and the names of the service providers. Users can search by address to find the broadband providers and services available in the corresponding census block or road segment, view the data on a map, or use other interactive tools to compare broadband service across various geographies, such as states, counties, or congressional districts.
The map shows that between 5 and 10 percent of Americans lack access to broadband at speeds that support a basic set of applications, including downloading web pages, photos and video, and using simple video conferencing. The FCC last July set a benchmark of 4 Mbps actual speed downstream and 1 Mbps upstream to support these applications.
NTIA collected data in ranges between 3-6 Mbps and 6-10 Mbps maximum advertised download speeds, which are the closest measurements to the speed benchmark for broadband that the FCC set.