Just over a year ago, we unveiled the National Broadband Map – an unprecedented, interactive map that shows what high-speed Internet services are available in the United States. Powered by a searchable database of more than 20 million records, the map is the most extensive set of U.S. broadband availability data ever published. Our partners in the states collect new data every six months from nearly 1,800 broadband providers nationwide. Just as we did last September, today we are again updating the map with the latest information
Our goal remains to provide the most accurate information available. To make this possible, states are using a variety of best practices to validate data before providing it for the map. For example, the Missouri team uses a combination of techniques, including hitting the road to verify infrastructure, and comparing information supplied by broadband providers to third-party datasets, public data, and surveys the team conducts throughout the state. Utah uses similar methods, and has also conducted 9,300 miles of drive tests over in order to assess and validate mobile broadband availability and performance.
That sounds great BUT according to Kari Bode at DSLReports, the map remains “largely useless”.
A quick look finds numerous markets where speeds are still over-stated (particularly for DSL) and phantom competitors pop up. Pricing, arguably the most important metric, still isn’t represented.
So, if you use the map, be aware and be careful. Of course, being aware and careful is important to remember (but easy to forget) when using any research tool.
For those who teach information literacy skils the map along coupled with Bode’s comments might make for a useful discussion.
Direct to National Broadband Map