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New Market Opportunities and FCC Building Blocks

by: Michael Byrne, Geographic Information Officer

March 23, 2011

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:158:height=100,width=70]]The National Broadband Map was developed to embody the spirit of the Internet.
Let me explain what I mean. The Internet is a two way street. At its most basic, the National Broadband Map shows how quickly Americans can give and take information over our national networks.
The Internet is also highly dynamic; it is constantly changing. The Map, too, was built to not only support but encourage change.
Since the product launched, we've seen some cool developments that use the Map's building blocks to make other projects better and more powerful. We think these developments lead to new opportunities -- new markets, new jobs, and new ways of tackling tough issues.
Here’s the first big example: The team at Broadband.com has integrated two of the FCC's APIs -- one for Census Block Conversion, the other to access the crowdsourced data points of the FCC Consumer Broadband Speed Test -- into their own mapping tool. This helps show the speed at businesses' locations -- a hugely important data point to surface as the speed of broadband to business and industry only climbs in importance in our connected market place.
On the government side, the excellent data team at the U.S. Department of Education just released a map product that visualizes one of the most vital aspects of broadband deployment in America: broadband availability for U.S. schools. Moving forward, the National Broadband Map will be collecting more information about Community Anchor Institutions – the places like schools and libraries that often are the central locations for public broadband access – that will help grow the functionality in products like the Broadband Availabilty map.
These integrations are a great example of government data products helping businesses build new markets. It’s exactly the spirit of integration we had in mind, and we’re excited to see other products -- in the private and public sectors -- continue down this path.
The second example is even more exciting. Since launch, we have received over 32,000 user-suggested inputs which are location based.  These 32,000 data points come in two varieties: some support the data that the map shows, and others point out discrepancies where user data doesn’t match the data in the map.
These user inputs are being fed back to the states -- the collectors of the National Broadband Map’s data -- to continuously improve the quality of the product. And user data input -- like our speed test -- continue to show the value that hybridized data collection techniques can pass on to users and innovators alike.

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