Thursday, June 17, 2021

Mapping America's Digital Divide

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has released a new interactive map that displays key indicators of broadband needs across the country. The map uses data from a number of different sources to show broadband availability and speeds at the county level in the United States.

If you click on a county on the The Indicators of Broadband Need digital map you can view details on the percentage of the local population without Internet access, the median broadband speed available, and the percentage of downloads completed over 25 Mbps. 

The map reveals that large areas of the country have broadband access which is below the Federal Communications Commission's recommended benchmark of 25 Mbps download / 3 Mbps upload. The map also includes a number of other economic data layers which allow you to view and compare poverty data with broadband access data. NTIA's map is therefore a really useful tool for discovering where Americans don't currently have the internet access necessary for success in the digital age and where communities and individuals don't have access to high-speed Internet services.

Verge has also been busy mapping mapping broadband speeds in the United States.Unfortunately not everyone in the USA has access to what are now seen as adequate broadband internet speeds. In This is a Map of America's Broadband Gap Verge has mapped counties where less than 15 percent of households have a broadband speed of 25Mbps or above.

All the counties colored blue on Verge's map have less than 15 percent of households with acceptable internet speeds. You can hover over any county on the map to view the percentage of households that have adequate broadband speeds. Verge's map uses data from Microsoft. This data reveals that there are many counties where a large majority of the population don't have adequate broadband speeds. For example in Lincoln County, Washington only five percent of households can access the internet at 25Mbps or above.

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