broadband availablity

In search of better broadband availability data

The only current source for information on broadband availability is collected from telecommunications service providers through the Federal Communications Commission’s Form 477.  That information, while helpful, is not independently verified and contains inaccuracies, according to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.  NTIA wants a better way to identify regions with insufficient broadband capacity, particularly in rural areas.

In a May 30 request for comments, NTIA asks for recommendations on sources of broadband availability data, mechanisms to validate the information and approaches to leverage the data to inform broadband planning at the state and national levels.

It specifically asks for data from federal and state sources, not-for-profit organizations, academic institutions and the private sector.  If possible, the data should be broken down by the specific types of wireless technologies, the geographic scope and the name and type of entity that collects the data. 

Information should also include how frequently the data is updated, the collection methodology and measures used to ensure data accuracy. In addition, NTIA wants feedback on data improvements that can be implemented by government agencies to identify areas where there is insufficient broadband access.

“We know these gaps exist, but what we don’t know is precisely which areas of the country have insufficient broadband capacity,” NTIA Administrator David Redl said in a blog post. “That makes it difficult to ensure that public investments in infrastructure are efficient and effective.”

Comments to the NTIA are due July 16. The full notice can be found here.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at sfriedman@gcn.com or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.


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