In another digital first for the FCC, we just released an interactive, web-based map that illustrates our Broadband Progress Report. This congressionally mandated report assesses how well broadband deployment and adoption is progressing in the nation. With this new map, our report is more responsive to both Congress and the American people.
This map is great for a bunch of reason. First, as you zoom into the map or pan around, you can explore the intricate details of broadband availability in each and every county in the United States. These details include not just the population, and income numbers from the census, but the percentage of each county that has access to the major fixed technologies providing broadband service. This charting feature is a dynamic and robust way to investigate the data, see how different communities compare to each other, or just look at your home town.
Second, the map allows anyone access to the full set of raw data underlying the report. It used to be that maps like this were only viewed through complicated software or with specialized training. You do not need access to special software, or fancy understanding of intricate bureaucratic processes; all you need is a web browser.
Third, by publishing this map, we make our own processes more open, accountable and effective. It makes the data available to all Americans, not just specialized practitioners
A few more details. These maps are;
- Complete: 100% of the data in the authoritative sources, and the report and represented in the maps
- Authoritative: taken directly from the source at http://www2.ntia.doc.gov/Jun-2011-datasets
- Accessible: no software barriers, terms of service, or other restrictions prohibit use)
- Machine readable: the map data is stored in a SQLite file, whose open specification is found here: http://mapbox.com/developers/mbtiles/
- Non-discriminatory: anyone can have access at fcc.gov/maps, without any registration or further requirement
- In a non-proprietary format: no other software is required to look at or analyze the data
- License free: data is not subject to any further restrictions, and you can download it
- Interactive: you can pan and zoom anywhere you want to view what the data says about anywhere in the United States.
I’m proud to say that these maps will help everyone understand our broadband landscape better.