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June 20, 2021 | Tom Ballard

New NTIA interactive map graphically shows the digital divide

Access to broadband is a big public policy issue these days, and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration released a new publicly available digital map last week to further illustrate the “digital divide.”

Displaying key indicators of broadband needs across the country, this first interactive, public map allows users to explore different datasets about where people do not have quality Internet access. The public “Indicators of Broadband Need” tool captures on one map, for the first time, data from both public and private sources. It contains data aggregated at the county, census tract, and census block level from the U.S. Census Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, M-Lab, Ookla and Microsoft.

In addition, speed-test data provided by M-Lab and Ookla help to illustrate the reality that communities experience when going online, with many parts of the country reporting speeds that fall below the FCC’s current benchmark for fixed broadband service of 25 Mbps download, 3 Mbps upload.

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