Action Center: Broadband Mapping Initiative

Mapping the Broadband Gap

USTelecom, joined by ITTA, WISPA and a diverse consortium of broadband companies and associations 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 provided 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.

The results: the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric concept is workable, scalable, cost effective and time efficient, with no barriers for nationwide rollout. Congress recently approved funding $98 million to implement the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act, bipartisan legislation enacted in 2020 to create a comprehensive national broadband map.

USTelecom is leading the charge to definitively map internet service in America. USTelecom CEO Jonathan Spalter (CNET)

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, Chariton Valley, Consolidated, Frontier, Wilkes Communications / RiverStreet Networks, TDS, Verizon, and Windstream. We’ve made tremendous strides in our plan to Map The Gap and close the Digital Divide.

Check out our on-demand webinar outlining results from the Broadband Mapping Initiative pilot in Missouri and Virginia.

View Webinar

Jonathan Spalter Testifies at House Energy and Commerce Hearing

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.

You Can’t Deploy What You Can’t Map

The Broadband Mapping Initiative was 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 harnessed 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 worked:

  • Multiple sources of address, building, and parcel data used to develop and validate a comprehensive database of all broadband serviceable locations in the two pilot states.
  • Our vendor conformed 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 augmented the validation process and were automatically indexed to the final database to facilitate accurate broadband availability reporting. Different methods for reporting service availability were tested.
  • The pilot also developed and tested a mediated crowdsourcing platform that enabled consumers to submit information to improve the accuracy of the database.

A fully 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.