Background

The Connect2HealthFCC Task Force’s mapping platform Mapping Broadband Health in America 2017 allows users to visualize, overlay and analyze broadband and health data at the national, state and county levels – informing policy prescriptions and investment decisions.

The maps are an interactive experience, showing various pictures of the intersection between connectivity and health for every county in the United States. Users can generate customized maps that show broadband access, adoption and speed alongside various health measures (e.g., obesity, diabetes and physician access) in urban and rural areas.


These maps can be used by both public and private sectors, and local communities, to identify opportunities and gaps in connected care.

You can explore questions like:

  • What is the relationship between connectivity and health?
  • How do rural and urban areas compare on broadband and health?
  • What is the chronic disease picture in higher vs. lower connectivity areas?
  • Where can existing broadband infrastructure be leveraged now – by policymakers, entrepreneurs, or other stakeholders -- to help address physician shortages or high levels of chronic disease?
  • Where do infrastructure gaps and poor health outcomes coincide – both at the national and county level – in order to better target and prioritize marketplace solutions and private sector investment?

Key features of these maps:

  • Interactive data visualization tools
  • Easily accessible statistics about connectivity and health at the national and state levels, to help ground the user experience
  • Customizable zoom levels to state, county, or automatic
  • Unique URLs created for each customized map to facilitate sharing and collaboration
  • Support of open government and open data initiatives through APIs and downloadable data sets

Potential benefits and uses:

  • The maps will be a valuable tool for highlighting areas that might require some special attention. They will also help stakeholders identify the types of collaborations – public/private; network/applications and outreach/education – that may be needed to improve connectivity and health.
  • For the FCC and other agencies, the maps can be used to characterize regions, patterns, and gaps to inform policy, regulatory actions or reforms.
  • For the private sector, the maps can identify areas where entrepreneurial opportunities for enabling consumer health through broadband exist now.
  • And, local communities may find the maps helpful as they allocate resources and focus efforts on leveraging broadband connectivity for health.
  • Over time and with periodic data updates, the maps could also be used to assess continued progress in the connected health space.

Data sources:

The annual fixed broadband data in the platform comes from the Commission’s Form 477 data on residential fixed broadband deployment and residential fixed broadband subscribership. This annual data was released in December 2016 and covers data submissions as of December 2015. Proportions for broadband access statistics are calculated using 2014 demographic data from GeoLytics, E. Brunswick, NJ. The health data is drawn from the 2017 release of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation County Health Rankings & Roadmap (which reflects data from the Health Resources and Services Administration, Dartmouth Atlas Project, American Medical Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other primary sources); and additional demographic data is from the U.S. Census Bureau. Learn more about the data and methodology.

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