The National Telecommunications and Information Administration on Friday announced the completion of its twice-yearly update of the National Broadband Map. Initially launched just over a year ago, the interactive map is now based on a searchable database of more than 20 million records collected from broadband providers on a state-by-state basis.
“The map has proven a valuable tool to a wide range of stakeholders, including consumers, researchers, policymakers, local planning officials and application developers,” the NTIA wrote in the announcement. “Broadband drives economic growth and innovation – including advances in health care, education and public safety – so data on America’s broadband capabilities is of increasing importance, especially as we work to close the digital divide.”
When the National Broadband Map was first launched just over a year ago, it drew some criticism because some service providers were not included. But data collection methods seem to have improved. While the first launch of the map was based on data from 1,650 providers, an update later last year included 1,731 providers and, according to the NTIA, the latest update is based on data from nearly 1,800 broadband providers.
Since the original launch, the technology underlying the National Broadband Map also has been enhanced to support mobile users.
The National Broadband Map was designed with open application programming interfaces with the goal of enabling commercial users to tap into it to create their own interactive applications. At least one company—Bandwidth.com—already has done just that. Bandwidth.com offers Internet and VoIP services to small and medium size businesses and has launched an application based on the National Broadband Map to enable customers to identify which providers offer service in a particular area, as well as certain details about those services such as broadband speed and the underlying technology.
Data from the National Broadband Map also underlies a non-commercial interactive broadband map developed by a self-described “data enthusiast,” who augmented the data with information from the Universal Service Administration Company and the U.S. Census Bureau.
The NTIA continues to seek to improve the National Broadband Map. In Friday’s announcement, the organization invited users to use a crowdsourcing features to confirm the accuracy of data or to let the organization know if they spot an error.
I typed in a few areas of the country with which I am familiar and didn’t see a problem with the latest version of the map, but in the past some Telecompetitor readers have spotted errors. The updated National Broadband Map can be checked out here.