The FCC has released a web-based interactive map that shows the progress of broadband rollout in the United States. The commission has provided broadband status updates for some time now but the new map allows users to investigate availability on a county-by-county basis – information that could be useful in a number of different scenarios.
The service gives users detailed information about any specific region including the different types of broadband available as well as population and income data. Broadband is described by the FCC as 3 Mbps download and 768 kbps upload or better.
Engadget points out that the accompanying Broadband Progress Report reveals that 19 million Americans lack access to any type of fixed broadband service while 100 million have access to broadband but haven’t subscribed to any service. It’s an improvement over last year when the same study found 26 million Americans were without service options.
Of those 19 million Americans without access, 14.5 million live in rural areas as defined by the 2010 Census. That number is expected to drop sharply over the next decade, however, thanks to the FCC’s Connect America broadband fund that was announced late last year.
This 4.5 billion “new economy” project aims to deliver high-speed Internet access to rural homes using landline connections and mobile 3G / 4G connections. Dish Network is also planning to introduce a new satellite broadband service later this year that will serve 2 million customers in rural areas.
The FCC concludes that for the third consecutive year, broadband isn’t being rolled out in a reasonable and timely fashion.