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The 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 providers or other data sources. The result is more than 25 million searchable records showing where broadband Internet service is available, the technology used to provide the service, the maximum advertised speeds of the service, and the names of the service providers. Users can search by address, view the data on a map, or compare broadband across various geographies (states, counties, or congressional districts).
The map shows that between 5 to 10 percent of Americans lack access to broadband at speeds that support a basic set of applications, including downloading webpages, photos, video, and using simple video conferencing. This is a rather confusing number, given that the FCC defined broadband in July 2010 as 4Mbps actual speed downstream and 1Mbps upstream to support these applications. The NTIA only collected data in ranges between 3 to 6Mbps and 6 to 10Mbps maximum advertised download speeds, meaning that all 3Mbps connections were lumped into the broadband category. The FCC found in December 2010 that 68 percent of US broadband connections weren't really broadband.
"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," Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator, said in a statement. "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."
The NTIA has also released a new report previewing data collected through the Internet Usage Survey of 54,000 households, conducted by the US Census Bureau in October 2010. Here are a few highlights:
If you want to read the whole 28-page report, check it out here: February 2011 Digital Nation (PDF).
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