Sunday, December 17, 2017

How Net Neutrality Could Affect You

On Thursday the three Republican commissioners on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to end the rules that ensure the internet remains open. This means that cable companies and other internet providers will now be able to regulate which websites you can access and charge you more for delivering certain services over the internet.

In response to the Net Neturality vote Esri has created a number of interactive maps to illustrate the current state of internet access and behavior across the United States. The maps explore the internet connection types common in different areas of the U.S. and highlight the communities that have already been left behind in the digital divide. The maps help to provide a critical context for understanding how and where potential changes to net neutrality will most impact Americans.

The What Do Americans Do Online? map shows where Americans are most likely to engage in the type of high-bandwidth, high-visibility behaviors (such as streaming movies or playing games online) that are believed to be most impacted by potential changes to net neutrality.

The map uses a choropleth layer to highlight the areas where the potential impact of net neutrality is highest and lowest. Using the map you can check to see if you live in an area where internet providers might be tempted to start testing new, more expensive, business models.

The State of Internet Access map shows where people currently have the greatest access to high speed internet and explores which type of connection (cable, fiber optic, or DSL) is most common in each community.

The Access Addicts map uses Esri’s market potential data to identify the ZIP Code areas with the highest percentage of adults spending at least 10 hours a day online. In every one of these 10 ZIP Codes at least 10% of the adults spend more than ten hours hours a day online. The map also shows the total population and the median income in these ZIP Codes.

All of these areas, as well as having the highest internet usage, have above average median incomes. They could well be the ideal place for the cable companies to start testing pay-for-play business models.

The High Speed Internet Deserts Map shows the areas with the worst access to the internet. This map uses Esri’s market potential data to identify ZIP Codes where the lowest percentage of adults have access to high speed Internet (Esri restricted this analysis to ZIP Codes with 1,000+ people and 500+ households). This map effectively shows the communities that have already been left behind in the digital divide.

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