Mapping the Broadband Gap
USTelecom, joined by ITTA, WISPA and a diverse consortium of broadband companies and associations have launched the Broadband Mapping Initiative to more accurately map broadband deployment nationwide and close the digital divide.
Beginning with a pilot program in Virginia and Missouri, the Initiative will result in the most sophisticated and detailed map of broadband availability in the nation, arming policymakers with granular data to identify where broadband service is lacking and better target scarce funding.
In addition to USTelecom, the Broadband Mapping Consortium is comprised of individual companies representing providers of different sizes and technology types, including: AT&T, CenturyLink, Consolidated, Frontier, Riverstreet, TDS, Verizon, and Windstream.
USTelecom Forum: Launching Broadband Mapping (March 2019)
The Solution To Rural Broadband Mapping
Universal access to broadband is essential to the country’s economic future, but the federal government’s efforts to map the availability of broadband still requires additional precision.
Currently, the FCC collects deployment data from broadband providers by census block. Unfortunately, location data on homes and businesses too often are not accurately reflected in census block or other available data. This issue is particularly acute in less densely populated rural areas where census blocks are far larger than their urban and suburban counterparts.
USTelecom is leading the charge to definitively map internet service in America. Jonathan Spalter (CNET)
You Can’t Deploy What You Can’t Map
The Broadband Mapping Initiative is a pilot program to aggregate all locations in Missouri and Virginia, identify their geolocation, and create a Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric to identify locations that require access to broadband.
Representing a major evolution in the way broadband service is mapped in the United States, the Broadband Mapping Initiative will harness the power of new digital resources, databases and crowdsourcing platforms, combined with existing provider service address information, to improve understanding of unserved/served areas.
Here’s how the pilot works:
- Multiple sources of address, building, and parcel data will be used to develop and validate a comprehensive database of all broadband serviceable locations in the two pilot states.
- A vendor will conform address formats, remove duplicates, and using a geo-referencing tool assign a unique latitude and longitude to the actual building where broadband service is most likely to be installed.
- Customer address lists provided by participating companies will augment the validation process and will be automatically indexed to the final database to facilitate accurate broadband availability reporting. Different methods for reporting service availability will be tested.
- The pilot will also develop and test a mediated crowdsourcing platform that will enable consumers to submit information to improve the accuracy of the database.
The comprehensive understanding of existing connectivity will result in better cost estimates, deployment time, and progress, and more effective targeting of funds to speed rural America’s access to broadband benefits including eCommerce, eLearning, and eHealth.