Chairman Pai has said that bridging the digital divide is his highest priority. And now, we have a valuable tool that will aid in efforts to bridge the gap: a new interactive broadband map, which will help the public and policy-makers understand where there are gaps in delivering fixed broadband and much more. Available now at https://broadbandmap.fcc.gov, the map will allow people to learn more about broadband in their areas, and across the country.
This new map is built on the latest data for fixed-broadband deployment, collected every six months by the FCC from providers on Form 477. Right now, that’s data as of December 2016, but the new map is designed to be quickly and easily updated with the most recent data sets.
Essentially a web application that includes a variety of maps and other features, this map builds on what we learned from the legacy National Broadband Map and the maps we’ve published since then at FCC Maps. It’s designed from the start to be flexible. Instead of one or two possible combinations of technology and speed, this map allows users to choose from 441 combinations. That’s not a typo—choose from between one and six technologies in any combination, and from among seven speeds—it really is 441 combinations. The app also marries maps and additional data together on a page, providing graphs and tables to put the maps in context and help people make sense of them.
So how can you use the map? As with the legacy National Broadband Map, consumers can enter an address, either at the home page, or on the Location Summary tab, and have the map show them the area and display a list of providers reporting service—a full list of providers regardless of which of those 441 combination you’ve chosen.
Policymakers are often interested in the bigger picture. They can get detail about a particular area on the Area Summary tab, whether they’re interested in the entire country, a state, a county, a Congressional District, a city or town (Census Place), a tribal area, or a statistical area (CBSA). Simply choose the type of area, start typing and select the area of interest. The app provides a map of the area along with three graphs that show what fraction of the population has, or lacks, the kind of broadband selected. Policymakers can also compare one area with another on the Area Comparison tab.
We think the way all these things come together is what makes this new map such a step forward. Do you want to research the availability of 100 Mpbs or even 1 Gbps broadband instead of 25 Mbps service? You can get a coverage map and graphs in a few clicks to better understand coverage. Do you want to focus only on fiber to the premises? The new map makes it easy to see just how much of the country has fiber—and, importantly, how much lacks fiber coverage. Interested instead in high-speed alternatives to the cable and telecom companies? The new map lets you pick the technologies and speeds you care about. Or perhaps, you’re worried that rural or tribal areas are being left behind. The map provides easy comparisons in a couple of mouse clicks, whatever combination of technology and speed interest you.
It means that rather than saying there’s only one or two ways to look at broadband, as we’ve done in the past, the new map puts the power in your hands to determine what kind of broadband matters to you—and it makes maps and graphs of what you want easily accessible.
We will continue to add features to the map over time too. So please check it out whenever you have a question arise about fixed broadband deployment. We would love to hear how you are using the map and welcome any feedback about ways to improve the site. You can reach us at email@example.com.
And remember that we continue to publish maps about mobile broadband deployment and many other topics at https://www.fcc.gov/maps. Beyond mapping, this page provides at least some sense of all the work the FCC is doing to help bring high-speed Internet access to all Americans.