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NTIA Releases New Broadband 'Need' Map

NTIA map
(Image credit: N/A)

The Biden Administration has created an "Indicators of Broadband Need" interactive mapping tool it said will illustrate the digital divide to the public.

The President has proposed over $100 million in broadband subsidies to try and close that divide.

Also Read: Wicker Seeks Oversight Hearing on Broadband Mapping

The National Telecommunications & Information Administration Thursday (June 17) released what it was billing as the first interactive map showing "key indicators of broadband needs across the country," combining data from different public and private sources aggregated at the county, census track and census block levels. 

The data comes from the Census Bureau, the FCC, M-Lab and Ookla (speed test data) and Microsoft.

The goal said NTIA is to "illustrate the reality that communities experience when going online, with many parts of the country reporting speeds that fall below the FCC’s current benchmark for fixed broadband service of 25 Mbps download, 3 Mbps upload."

Also Read: NTIA Map Has Real But Limited Value

The map combines poverty and lack of access to show how high poverty relates to internet use and lack of computers and equipment.

The Biden Administration has signaled that speed, price and competition should all be part of the definition of where broadband is "available."

“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,” said Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. “In his American Jobs Plan, President Biden has proposed a once-in-a-lifetime investment that would finally connect one hundred percent of the country to reliable and affordable high-speed broadband.”

Commenting on the new map, FCC acting chair Jessica Rosenworcel said: “The latest mapping effort by NTIA is a welcome new tool that provides valuable insight into the state of broadband across the country...To ensure that 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."

Also Read: Broadcasters Say They Shouldn't Be Charged for Better Broadband Maps

The FCC has taken heat for its broadband map data and is under a mandate from Congress to fix the problem.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.