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Interactive map provides valuable insight into the digital divide across the U.S.

A new publicly available digital map released today by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) puts data on a single map, from both private and public sources. The “Indicators of Broadband Need” tool will allow users to clearly see where people do not have quality internet access.

The data, which is aggregated at the county, census tract, and census block level, comes from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), M-Lab, Ookla, and Microsoft. M-Lab and Ookla provided speed test data that clearly demonstrates what communities experience when online, with many areas reporting speeds below the FCC’s current benchmark for fixed broadband rates (25 Mbps download, 3 Mbps upload). 

“As we release this important data to the public, it paints a sobering view of the challenges facing far too many Americans as they try to connect to high-speed broadband and participate in our modern economy,” says U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “In his American Jobs Plan, President Biden has proposed a once-in-a-lifetime investment that would finally connect 100% of the country to reliable and affordable high-speed broadband.”

FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel says “Broadband is no longer nice to have. It’s a need to have. To ensure every household has the internet access necessary for success in the digital age, we need better ways to accurately measure where high-speed service has reached Americans and where it has not. The latest mapping effort by NTIA is a welcome new tool that provides valuable insight into the state of broadband across the country. The FCC looks forward to continuing our close collaboration with the Commerce Department and other federal partners to fulfill the goal of connecting 100% of Americans.”

In addition, NTIA offers state governments and federal partners a geographic information system (GIS) platform called the National Broadband Availability Map (NBAM). It provides more complex tools for analyzing broadband access. To date, 36 states participate.

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