NTIA Releases National Broadband Map

A U.S. agency that advises President Obama on telecommunications issues has released what it says is the first national map showing the availability of broadband Internet access across the country.

The National Broadband Map released Thursday by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) shows that between five and 10 percent of Americans dont have access to broadband Internet speeds that support such basic functions as downloading Web pages and using simple video conferencing, NTIA announced in a press release. NTIA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, said the map would be updated every six months, and the public could provide feedback to improve accuracy.

The National Broadband Map shows there are still too many people and community institutions lacking the level of broadband service needed to fully participate in the Internet economy,” said Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling. We are pleased to see the increase in broadband adoption last year, particularly in light of the difficult economic environment, but a digital divide remains.”

NTIA on Thursday also released a new report previewing data collected through the Internet Usage Survey of 54,000 households and 129,000 individuals. Among other things, the report found differences among demographic groups in Internet use.

[P]eople with low incomes, disabilities, seniors, minorities, the less-educated, non-family households, and the non-employed tend to lag behind other groups in home broadband use,” NTIA stated in the press release.

The report also found that roughly 68 percent of U.S. homes use high-speed broadband access while 28.3 percent of all persons do not use the Internet in any location. 

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