Connectivity

Connectivity is on the rise, new broadband map shows

Updated data points to infrastructure gains across the country.
article cover

Saul Loeb/Getty Images

· less than 3 min read

Keep up with the innovative tech transforming business

Tech Brew keeps business leaders up-to-date on the latest innovations, automation advances, policy shifts, and more, so they can make informed decisions about tech.

The FCC is making a list and checking it twice—at least when it comes to internet availability.

Federal Communications Commission Chair Jessica Rosenworcel recently announced that the third iteration of the agency’s national broadband map is now live, offering more detailed insights into where high-speed web service is and isn’t available.

The improved data has both a consumer angle—which ISPs service your house?—and a policy angle. Eventually, the maps will be used to direct federal broadband subsidies to the least connected areas.

The latest version “continues to build on our efforts to add new information, refine data, and incorporate lessons learned, all of which helps to improve the map’s accuracy,” Rosenworcel wrote.

The data, reflecting coverage data through June 30, indicates that the number of locations that lack access to high-speed internet service decreased by 1.1 million since the last update in May, according to the blog post.

Steady improvements: Mike Conlow, director of network strategy at Cloudflare, observed that fresh government funding for broadband projects and improved carrier record-keeping likely contributed to the narrowing gap. He wrote in a blog post that several states notched significant gains in their documented connectivity.

“Some of the biggest movers were North Dakota, New York, and Nebraska, which lowered their unserved numbers by 39%, 30%, and 30% respectively,” he wrote. “In North Dakota, there are only 4,915 remaining unserved locations. In New York, the unserved locations went from 149,000 to 105,000.”

Last November, the FCC gave the public a first look at its overhauled national broadband map, the result of years of planning and a congressional mandate. It released the second iteration of the map in May. The project stemmed from widespread discrepancies in data that carriers were historically required to report, leading to overstated coverage areas as well as a lack of granularity in on-the-ground service availability.

Rosenworcel noted that the agency is using the bolstered data set to examine broadband’s impact on society more closely, such as the nexus between connectivity and improved maternal health outcomes. At the direction of Congress, the commission recently began studying how it can better track telehealth and other forms of connected care to reduce the number of pregnancy-related deaths.

Keep up with the innovative tech transforming business

Tech Brew keeps business leaders up-to-date on the latest innovations, automation advances, policy shifts, and more, so they can make informed decisions about tech.