NCTA — The Internet & Television Association

Broadband Maps

broadband maps
Broadband For All Americans

Broadband Maps

Overview

The federal government spends billions of dollars each year to promote broadband deployment in unserved areas. More accurate maps will help locate unserved communities and ensure that this funding achieves the goal of ubiquitous broadband for all Americans. Congress recently enacted a law, the Broadband DATA Act, that will result in better maps.

Creating Better Broadband Maps

Broadband maps based on the data currently collected by the government are not granular enough to accurately identify all unserved areas. Better data will result in better maps to help solve this problem.

Census blocks
Currently, broadband providers report to the FCC a list of the census blocks where they offer service. While census block reporting accurately reports broadband availability in densely populated areas where census blocks are small and fully served, it is less effective in rural areas because current FCC rules treat an entire census block as served even if portions of the block are unserved.
Census Block reporting availability
Served home/business
Unserved home/business
Shapefiles
To more accurately show broadband availability, the FCC adopted an NCTA proposal to require broadband providers to submit shapefiles – or electronic maps — that indicate the specific areas where their services are available. Congress passed the Broadband DATA Act making the shapefile reporting method the law of the land and requiring the FCC to create new, more detailed maps based on this method.
Shapefile reporting availability
Served home/business
Unserved home/business
Fabric
Broadband maps now do not distinguish homes and businesses from other structures, such as sheds, that do not need broadband access. The Broadband DATA Act requires the FCC to collect and assemble this data into a ‘fabric’ that could be used when providers apply for funding to estimate the number of unserved premises and cost of extending broadband service to those locations.
Home/Business
Building that is not a home/business
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