NTIA created the map through the State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program, a matching grant program that implements the joint purposes of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Broadband Data Improvement Act (BDIA). NTIA awarded grants to assist states or their designees in gathering and verifying state-specific data on broadband services.
The map will be updated every six months based on input from grantees. Using crowdsourcing tools, the public can help improve accuracy by providing feedback on the data.
A digital nation
The NTIA also released a report previewing data collected through the Internet Usage Survey of 54,000 households, commissioned by NTIA and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in October 2010. The Current Population Survey (CPS) data show that while virtually all demographic groups have experienced rising broadband Internet access adoption at home, historic demographic disparities among groups have persisted over time.
Highlights of the February 2011 Digital Nation report include:
- Broadband internet access at home continues to grow: 68 percent of households have broadband access, as compared to 63.5 percent last year. (In the survey, broadband was defined as internet access service that uses DSL, cable modem, fiber optics, mobile broadband, and other high-speed Internet access services.)
- Notable disparities between demographic groups continue: people with low incomes, disabilities, seniors, minorities, the less-educated, non-family households, and the non-employed tend to lag behind other groups in home broadband use.
- While the digital divide between urban and rural areas has lessened since 2007, it remains significant. In 2010, 70 percent of urban households and only 60 percent of rural households accessed broadband internet service. (Last year, those figures were 66 percent and 54 percent, respectively.)
- Overall, the two most commonly-cited main reasons for not having broadband internet access at home are that it is perceived as not needed (46 percent) or too expensive (25 percent). In rural America, however, lack of broadband availability is a larger reason for non-adoption than in urban areas (9.4 percent vs. 1 percent). Americans also cite the lack of a computer as a factor.
- Despite the growing importance of the internet in American life, 28.3 percent of all persons do not use the internet in any location, down from 31.6 percent last year.
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