As promised, the Commerce Department's National Broadband Map went live yesterday, showing the various types and speeds of internet connections all across the country. It's meant to function both as a tool for consumers and businesses, and as a wakeup call to the country--it's pretty shocking to see just how much of the country lacks high-speed broadband.
The map cost about $200 million (provided by the National Recovery Act of 2009), and offers a database of over 25 million documents showing the type, speed, provider, and location of broadband service. The most obvious way to use the map is simply to search for an address or zip code, and then narrow down results by type of broadband. Then you can see the maximum advertised speed of broadband, if it's available, which theoretically could be of use to businesses (they might not want to move to a location without reliable internet access) and consumers (ditto).
It also throws into sharp relief the fact that much of the country lacks broadband. Major population centers, like the Northeast Corridor, Chicagoland, Bay Area, Pacific Northwest, and Los Angeles-San Diego are blanketed, but much of the west, and even much of the southeast, are spotty at best. According to a survey released alongside the map (which was conducted last June), 68% of American households now have broadband access, up from 63.5% last year, but that leaves a pretty significant number out. This map may help the national broadband effort to spread the gospel of high-speed to more of the country.
You can search for yourself at the Broadband Map itself.
200 million for this map what a waste of tax payer dollars. A map that's going to be out of date a year from now.
It's already out of date
what a waste of tax payer dollars and space.
I dont really see how this is THAT big of an issue.
Services usually follow population, so the map is accurately reflecting that.
Next time, they can pay me the $200 million and I will take a map of the US population spread and then reduce it by 2/3...and BAM!, you now have the " Commerce Department's National Broadband Map"
Things cost money, and $200 million for *anything* like a national survey of *any* kind is damned inexpensive. I imagine the Verizon coverage map wasn't particularly cheap, and this is, by contrast, much more complex survey information to collect. I doubt anyone's complaining about Google Maps' price tag, either.
The timeliness thing you're talking about isn't really the issue. Maybe a few specific clusters will change over a few months' time, but the general distribution is necessary information, and regardless of whether it's similar to population distribution, the *disparities* between the population mapping and this are *exactly the point.* That's what folks are *looking* for with this data.
Broadband access is increasingly a utility infrastructure, and the government, as well as independent corporations, need information like this. Point of fact, I imagine that every major carrier and provider has paid out to create a map like this independently, but unlike a government program, they're not in the business of handing out information like that for free.
there is a big difference between a private organization like verizon or google spending their money on marketing tools or useful products and the government using our tax dollars to provide worthless pointless common sense information.
Beyond the cost - it's interesting to see that the blue areas all vote democratic. Yet the infrastructure to build these gateways are built by traditionally republican based communications companies.
The $200M is over 5 years and a vast majority went to the states to collect the data. The states will provide updates every 6 months for years to come. My company, Computech, worked with the FCC and NTIA to build the site. One of the features includes crowdsourcing that allows users to conduct speed tests and show the gap between advertised and actual; the objective is increased transparency.
Since the government is, and will continue, make new lays based on assumptions about internet coverage in America, it is very important to have a real source of information.
Let's say congress passes a "broadband internet for all" law that's projected to cost $5 billion based on the assumption that 90% of America is already covered. We're going to going to have some serious cost overruns to investigate and correct the oversight - way more than $200 million plus the difference in cost of having done it right in the first place.
No one seems to pointing out the obvious: there aren't very many people living in those broad areas with no connectivity. It's mostly public land, farms, ranches and wilderness. I live in one of those western states and believe me, the major cities where most of the population lives are very well connected. My city has optical fiber to virtually every house. So why do we need to spend government money to increase infrastructure that's already pretty well connected? Is this another example of government "...looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy?" (Ernest Benn)
I surveyed my community (population 500,000+) on the site and was surprised to see that it doesn't list my internet service provider at all. Bandwidth for my provider starts at 15Mbps up and down (30Mbps if you pay more), far exceeding the 1 to 3 MBps for Verizon which is listed as one of the local providers. Hopefully that $200 million investment will get us better data soon.
I live in Colorado, looked up my state, checked all the options and it was non-stop blue except for the truly mountainous areas and places of very little population. At first I thought 200 million was too expensive, then I saw it wasn't just one graphic, but a map and you could zoom in even. Crazy 21st century tech!
That 28 seconds was fun, Well that was 200 million well spent. Nice, hey may be the gov. can make a 200 million dollar iphone app, to show how much money it's saving us. I'd play with it.
All the broadband service providers have a map already. All they had to do is merge them. The group that carried this out could've done this cheaper but probably wanted to keep as much of the money as possible.
2oo million just for that guy that walks around and asks, "can you hear me now?"
No, 200 million to the guy who hired the guy that walks around. People that get 200 million dollars awarded from our illustrious government usually don't actually have a lot to do with any physically generated product. This was major millions to a few people who do nothing, and hundreds or thousands to all that actually worked on it, same as always. Kinda comforting to know that no matter how destructive practices have shown themselves to be, some things never change.
i dont think this map is waste of money at all. And it may be out of date but guess what??? it can be updated. and guess what else. Something has to be made in the first place to be updated. so rather than have NOTHING, we now have SOMETHING. amazing how that works isnt it? I love that mentality: it cost 200 million dollars and is already out of date, therefore is a waste of money and never should have been made. The same thing can be said about... hmm everything from ANY cpu or other computer technology, military arms and tech, oh wait, anything involving telecom and the internet. The pseudo 4G network the USA is spending 12BILLION on!!! guess what? out of date already. I guess that makes you an F%%%ING moron for owning a cell phone of ANY kind cause they are outdated before they hit the shelves.
@laurenra7 I agree with you. have you seen cell covereage. Its not much better. but better is not the best choice of words. We hy have a 100% broad band and cell coverage in the middle of montana where 1 family might own 100 square miles of farm land. I dont cows and corn need broad band out in the middle of the feild.
and to get more anal about it. 90% of the United States popluation live on the coast, just like in the rest of the world. LA and New York are blanketed because they house 10% of the ENTIRE population of the USA. close to 20 million total. give or take. so closer to 8% but you get my point. I would have to guess that 98% of the USA has access to broadband if they wanted it. Japan and Korea have better statics but they are so much more densely poulated it isnt even funny to imagine. I do live in Japan. I live WAY out in the country in a small town of 38,000. you know how far away the next biggest metropolitan area is. about 20-30 minutes depending on how fast you drive and traffic. That is average distance between towns. In the usa there are places you can drive for 12 hours and not see a town bigger than 5,000 people. In 12 hours you easilly drive from east to west coast in japan or korea. I get mail from the other side of the country in less than 24 hours all the time.
Please tell me they only started putting the data into the map, otherwise this is a new achievement for government lazyness and ineptitude.
West Virginia has no virtually no data at all for celphones or cable internet with only a few <3mb listings for the whole state. And just for fun I searched D.C., again nothing listed above 3mb, pretty sure they have some type of cable service there.
Oh and for reference I live in a rural town in WV and have 10MB cable service, and 3mb cel coverage most the time.
Oh and @inaka_rob, I've had the cable for several years now.