The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) have announced the release of the very first National Broadband Map that uses a searchable database to find broadband Internet service anywhere in the United States.
Funded by the federal government stimulus, the National Broadband Map allows users to search by address, city, zip code or county, with results showing all of the available advertised ISPs above 3Mbps and then below 3Mbps but above 768Kbps. Below the results, the most common broadband speed in the area is shown; users can also show only wired or wireless connections.
This map is considered a critical element in the Obama administration’s goal for 98 percent of US households to have access to high-speed Internet within five years. The administration has outlined the importance of this element, saying that it is key to national economic growth in accordance with its National Broadband Plan.
The results gathered by the map have already shown that one in ten American households do not have an Internet connection that fast enough to play a video or use a teleconference program. Moreover, sixty-five percent of American schools do not have a fast enough connection to suit the demands of what their classroom needs in terms of Internet-based classroom education.
Data for the map is collected via more than 25 million records of broadband service availability provided by the FCC, state, and territorial location information. The records needed for the results will be updated approximately every six months. Additional data found using website information from the visitors will be sourced to better map the ISPs that either weren’t listed or are not applicable to the particular service area provided.
Detailed reports such as broadband availability in rural v. urban areas can be viewed via BroadbandMap.gov.